Rollins’ External Relations Team Named Finalist for Prestigious PR Award

March 20, 2024

By Jessica Firpi ’11

Rollins’ Office of Communications & External Relations earns a spot as an Anvil Award finalist for media coverage of valedictorian Elizabeth Bonker ’22.

Jo Marie Hebeler, Rollins’ associate director of external communications, and Lauren Bradley, Rollins’ assistant vice president of external relations.
From left: Jo Marie Hebeler, associate director of external communications, and Lauren Bradley, assistant vice president of external relations.Photo by Scott Cook.

For a media campaign promoting the story of Elizabeth Bonker ’22—a social innovation major affected by nonspeaking autism—Jo Marie Hebeler, associate director of external communications, and Lauren Bradley, assistant vice president of external relations, have been selected as finalists for a Silver Anvil Strategic Award in the category of Most Effective Campaign on a Shoestring Budget ($5,000 or Less) from the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA).

For 80 years, the Anvils have set the standard for industry excellence as the benchmark of outstanding performance in public relations, recognizing and honoring the very best communications programs planned and executed each year. Silver Anvil Awards single out the best strategic public relations campaigns of the year as well as outstanding organizational excellence. Of the hundreds of entries submitted, only those that the Anvil judges deemed to have exceeded an extremely high threshold for quality have made it through to the 2024 Anvil Awards.

While delivering her commencement speech using a computer-generated voice, Bonker—one of Rollins’ 2022 valedictorians—urged fellow graduates to use their voices, serve others, and see the value in everyone they meet. The external communications team pitched Bonker’s story to national media outlets—not only her valedictory speech, but also her many standout accomplishments while at Rollins—and it went viral to a worldwide audience. Through the College’s award-winning PR campaign, Bonker’s speech and story had a far-reaching impact and inspired people across the globe to be the light through service to others.

The 2024 Anvil Awards will be presented on May 9 during the Anvil Awards Ceremony at the historic Edison Ballroom in New York City.

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