Dr. Rochelle L. Ford, dean at the School of Communications at Elon University, is recognized for her advocacy and support of multiculturalism in the public relations profession. From 1998-2014, Ford served as a faculty member and administrator at Howard University where she championed diversity and conducted interdisciplinary research through her more than $2.14 million in grants. She became a professor and chair of the public relations department at the Newhouse School at Syracuse University in June 2014.
An internationally sought-after speaker, she has presented to organizations such as Bermuda’s Department of Communications and Information, the Management School of London, Omnicom, AdColor, Council of PR Firms, 4A’s, AAF, PRSA, Edelman, National Black Meeting Planners Association, Association for Schools of Journalism and Mass Communication and Brigham Young University. A coordinator of a series of diversity podcasts, she wrote the monthly column “Diversity Dimensions” for Public Relations Tactics. Her scholarship has appeared in The New York Times, book chapters and refereed journals. She received PRSA’s national D. Parke Gibson Multiculturalism Award, PRSA’s National Capital Chapter Diversity Champion Award, the Plank Center for Leadership in Public Relations Milestones in Mentoring Award, the National Black Public Relations Society Founders Award, the International Award for Innovative Teaching, Learning & Technology and PRWeek’s 30 Under 30 Award.
She has earned graduate certificates in management and leadership from Harvard University. Ford served as the AARP Area 3 communications executive and as a consultant for such organizations as Urban Partnerships, National Council of Negro Women, Montgomery Public Schools and District of Columbia.
At the University of Tennessee at Martin and at Howard University, she advised chapters of PRSSA, NABJ and Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. She also served on the boards of The Journal of Public Relations Research, the Howard Journal of Communication, PRSA Diversity Committee, the Accrediting Council for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, the AAF Mosaic Center Executive Committee, the Scholarship Academy and Jumpstart HBCU Initiative. Ford chairs the Champions (Friends) of PRSSA and the PRSA Foundation Program Committee.
A mother of three, she led a Single and Parenting Ministry, taught Sunday school, coached cheerleading and served as a missionary in Kenya.
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