The Florida State University College of Communication and Information announced the creation of a new professorship in honor of the late Dr. Jay D. Rayburn II, who passed away on Monday, July 12. Today, Sept. 21, would have been his 74th birthday.
Serving as a lasting tribute to his devotion for advancement in the public relations industry, the college seeks to raise $250,000 for the Dr. Jay D. Rayburn Endowed Professorship. The College of Communication and Information also hopes others will join them in observing Rayburn’s birthday by giving to this professorship in his memory. The endowed professorship will allow the college to recruit and retain a scholar with an exemplary background in public relations-focused research and teaching. Additionally, it will provide supplemental funding pertinent for the exploration of creative activities and innovative academic research within the field.
“It is very fitting that this professorship is directed to serve students building on their futures in public relations,” said Stephen McDowell, interim dean of the FSU College of Communication and Information. “This was the focus of Jay's professional life, and this will help carry his dedication and commitment forward.”
The Moore Agency, a leading communications and marketing agency headquartered in Tallahassee, Florida, provided the first gift to establish the new professorship.
“It is an honor to be the inaugural donor to the Dr. Jay D. Rayburn Endowed Professorship as we highlight Rayburn’s legacy,” said Karen B. Moore, founder and CEO of the Moore Agency. “We collaborated on substantial research projects and saw firsthand his decades-long impact on students and the public relations profession, and this endowment is one way the College of Communication and Information will continue to lead in dynamic research, quality instruction and exceptional outcomes.”
An esteemed colleague and friend to many in the community, Rayburn joined the College of Communication and Information faculty in 1985, where he taught public relations and integrated marketing for 35 years before his retirement in 2020. During his tenure, he became a reputable name across campus, Tallahassee and the state, serving in various leadership capacities with the FSU Alumni Association National Board of Directors, the Florida Public Relations Association and the Public Relations Society of America. Prior to a dedicated career of guiding future public relations professionals, he also served in the United States Army in the early 1970s.
“Apart from his distinguished talent and industry knowledge, students and fellow faculty members—including myself—will greatly remember Professor Rayburn for his memorable stories and the countless laughs we shared with him,” said Larry Dennis, former dean of the FSU College of Communication and Information. “A gift to this endowed professorship is an investment in his legacy and ensures his standard of teaching excellence long lives at Florida State.”
In the past couple of months, many have already made a gift in honor of Rayburn’s legacy and the College of Communication and Information is grateful for this support.
To make a gift to the Dr. Jay D. Rayburn Endowed Professorship, visit give.fsu.edu/Rayburn or contact Mafé Brooks, director of development for the FSU College of Communication and Information, at (850) 645-8312.