As the Walter E. Griscti chapter of PRSSA at USF celebrated its 45th birthday, we couldn’t help but wonder about our past as we moved into the future. Where did it all begin? What is our story? And, most importantly, who was this Griscti guy anyway?
It took some serious investigative journalism to uncover the mystery behind our namesake – special thanks to PRSA Tampa Bay, the USF Human Resources office, the USF Oracle, the department of mass communications at USF, the USF Alumni Center and the USF Patel Center for allowing us to pick your brain for whatever information you had.
As with any cold case that needs cracking, we decided that it’d be best to start with what we knew. The facts we had were few in numbers but gave us good leads: the USF PRSSA chapter was founded with his namesake in 1971, PRSA Tampa Bay has an annual scholarship awarded to USF students under his name, and rumor had it that he was a professor in the mass communications department in the 1970s.
It was with that information and hope in our hearts that we took to the offices of USF, leaving no stone unturned that came across our path. So, without further ado, here are the five essential facts that you (probably) didn’t know about Walter E. Griscti:
- He was a man in uniform
Griscti served in the U.S. armed forces for 26 years as a Colonel. He also worked as a PR officer at General Dwight D. Eisenhower’s NATO headquarters in Paris. How’s that for a resume diversity?
- He founded the public relations course at USF
You know that love-hate relationship you have with your Principles of Public Relations class? You can totally thank Griscti for that.
- He taught at USF for 16 years before being named professor emeritus
Protip: Professor emeritus is code for “awesome retired professor.” He was kind of a big deal.
- He worked at Hill & Knowlton after finishing his career as a professor
Hill & Knowlton is a global public relations consulting office with locations in currently 52 countries. It’s no wonder that USF PRSSA inspires greatness in all areas in its members with such a versatile namesake.
- He was both PRSA President and PRSA’s Outstanding Educator of the Year in 1977
We could talk forever about the great things that Griscti has done for our chapter, our department, our school, and the PR community as a whole, so it’s amazing that he was recognized for the impact he had.
It’s important to recognize what we do know. In order to continue to move forward as a chapter, we must take pride in our roots, and much of that comes from knowing our chapter’s founding father, Walter E. Griscti.
When it comes down to it, we’re only as strong as our foundation, and by the looks of it, we’re rock solid.