Associate Professor Joel Geske awarded the 2018-19 Allen Essman Faculty Fellowship

Left to right: Denise Essman, Joel Geske and Angela Powers

The inaugural Faculty Fellowship rewards an advertising professor who has demonstrated excellence in their profession.

AMES, Iowa — Joel Geske, associate professor in advertising, is the first recipient of the Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication’s Allen Essman Faculty Fellowship made possible by Iowa State alumna, Denise Essman (marketing, 1973).

The Essman Faculty Fellowship—the first of its kind at the Greenlee School—honors a faculty member who has demonstrated excellence in advertising and/or public relations education.

The Fellowship provides support for a graduate assistant or postdoctoral stipend, secretarial or technical assistance, travel expenses, research support or other related purposes.

Joel Geske
headshot of Denise Essman
Denise Essman

Denise Essman, who is a Greenlee School Advisory Council member and longtime supporter of Iowa State University, established the fellowship in honor of her late husband, Allen, who was an instructor in advertising and photography at the Greenlee School from 1969-1972. He passed away in 2010 after a distinguished career in advertising.

Allen K. Essman received a B.S. in psychology in 1969 and an M.S. in journalism and mass communication in 1972 from Iowa State University. He was a copywriter for Meredith Corp. and Creative Director for Wesley Day Advertising prior to partnering with his wife, Denise, in 1977 to establish Essman/Associates, an integrated marketing communications company, and Essman/Research, a qualitative and quantitative research firm in Des Moines, Iowa. Throughout his 40-year career, Allen was recipient of more than 55 regional, national and international awards and was included in the first edition of “Who’s Who in Advertising.”

Denise Essman, an ISU Foundation Governor and Board member of the ISU Research Park, continues to lead Essman/Associates. Essman/Research was purchased by the State Public Policy Group in 2017.

“We’re an Iowa State family. Al loved his experience at ISU and attributed our good fortune in business and life to the education and the many opportunities he received via the Greenlee School. We want others to experience the same excellent education and to look back on their ISU days as the best ever,” said Denise Essman. “The student scholarship we established several years ago, also in Al’s name, is supporting students who might not otherwise have those opportunities.”

Geske’s selection was the result of a rigorous process conducted in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Such recognitions are rare and prestigious and of the highest of rewards of excellence at U.S. universities, said Angela Powers, director of the Greenlee School.

“Professor Geske has devoted his career to impacting students, the school and the advertising profession. Students regularly comment that Joel provides an exciting, real-world atmosphere that makes them want to learn. The Essman Fellowship acknowledges his achievements and allows him to focus on the next phase of research, service and teaching. It’s truly an inspirational gift from the Essman family,” Powers said.

“Allen Essman was very well-respected in the advertising community, and I’m honored to receive this fellowship in his name. I also really appreciate the opportunities this support offers. These types of gifts really let the school go beyond everyday curriculum and provide enrichment to faculty who can bring this knowledge back to students,” Geske said.

Geske holds two degrees from Iowa State University, his B.A. in journalism and mass communication and his Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instructional Technology. Before joining Greenlee School faculty in 1988, Geske worked in corporate advertising and as a copywriter and creative director at local agencies. He primarily teaches Advertising Creativity (ADVRT 334) and Diversity in the Media (JL MC 477). His recent research focuses on diversity and inclusion in the classroom and how the brain processes visual information, with a focus on creating effective messages.

Geske was honored by Greenlee faculty and staff and the Greenlee School Advisory Council at a ceremony on Oct. 5 in Hamilton Hall.