Gerald Hector talks with Rochelle L. Ford, Ph.D., APR this week on It's Easy Son
Rochelle L. Ford, Ph.D., APR is the eighth president of Dillard University. Prior to leading Dillard, she served as the dean of the School of Communications at Elon University, the second to serve in that position in the university’s history. There, she led more than 80 faculty and 1,500 students with six undergraduate major programs of study and one graduate program.
President Ford is recognized nationally for her work in public relations. In 2021, the Arthur W. Page Society presented President Ford with the Distinguished Service Award for her service to the public relations profession and her commitment to advancing diversity, equity and inclusion in the field in 2021. That same year, ColorCOMM listed her as one of 28 Most Influential Black Females in Communications. In 2019, President Ford received the Public Relations Society of America’s Outstanding Educator Award; and, in 2018, she was inducted into the PRWeek Hall of Fame.
Prior to her role at Elon, President Ford served for four years as a professor and the chair of the Public Relations Department at the S. I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, helping the program to win the PRWeek Education Program of the Year. Through a provost faculty fellowship, President Ford co-chaired Syracuse's successful Middle States Commission on Higher Education re-accreditation; and she initiated a university-wide required common first year experience. President Ford also taught as a professor for 16 years at her alma mater, Howard University, in the School of Communications, where she served as the associate dean for research and academic affairs for six years and as the former director of the Preparing Future Journalism Faculty Program. Her last assignment at Howard was to lead the university's initiative to establish a campus-wide Center for Academic Excellence.
A native of Gahanna, Ohio, President Ford earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism with a concentration in public relations from Howard, her master’s degree in journalism with a specialization in public relations from University of Maryland, College Park, and her Ph.D. in journalism from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. She also earned a graduate certificate in higher education administration from Harvard University.
Active in both her discipline and her community, President Ford is a member of PRSA and the Arthur W. Page Society. She is also a member of the National Black Public Relations Society, the American Advertising Federation, Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., the Alamance County Chamber of Commerce’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee, the United Church of Christ and the United Methodist Church.