The Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication at Iowa State University has named Rick Phillips the recipient of its 2020 James W. Schwartz Award. The annual award recognizes distinguished service to journalism and communication and is the highest honor conferred by the school.
Phillips received his bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communication from Iowa State University in 1978. His 40-year career in communications, public relations and marketing spans the corporate and nonprofit sectors and several industries.
As Nationwide’s Chief Communications Officer, Phillips led corporate communications programming from its headquarters in Columbus, Ohio. A trusted senior counselor, Phillips was responsible for leader communications, media relations and issues management, employee communications, executive positioning, and brand communications for the Fortune 100 insurance and financial services company. He retired from Nationwide in 2018 after 20 years.
Phillips’ corporate experience also includes leadership roles with Allied Insurance, a Nationwide subsidiary; GuideOne Insurance; and Meredith Corporation, where he oversaw public relations for Meredith’s magazines, including Better Homes and Gardens and other home and family products.
Phillips gained extensive experience in the nonprofit sector, serving as Vice President of Communications for the Greater Des Moines Chamber of Commerce Federation, and later, in the same position for the United Way of Central Iowa. At the Chamber, Phillips instituted a national image campaign for Des Moines; and at United Way, he developed a branding campaign for the state’s largest human services fundraising organization.
Phillips has generously shared his time and industry expertise with the Greenlee School and Iowa State’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. He joined the Greenlee School’s Advisory Council in 2010 and served terms as chair (2018-2020) and vice chair (2016-2018). He was a major visionary behind the 2018 and 2019 Greenlee Summits. These industry events brought professionals and students together in a learning environment with the goal of highlighting current issues and trends related to each of the school’s three communications disciplines — advertising, journalism and mass communication and public relations. They drew hundreds of participants each year and provided forums for networking and brainstorming. In addition, the events raised Greenlee’s reputation within the academic community which benefitted students, faculty and alumni.
For his efforts, he has also been named the recipient of the 2020 College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Distinguished Service Award, which recognizes alumni, faculty and friends of the college who have demonstrated outstanding service or academic contributions that further the educational mission of the college.
“Rick Phillips has not only helped to shape a range of media industries over his impressive career, but his leadership on the Greenlee advisory council has helped to shape the Greenlee School into what is it today. I am pleased we can celebrate his dedication and accomplishments with this well-earned and prestigious award,” said Michael Dahlstrom, interim director of the Greenlee School.
Phillips is a former President of the Central Iowa Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America. Phillips also served his industry as a Board member of the Insurance Public Relations Council and as Chairman of the Communications Committee of the Insurance Information Institute. He holds the APR (Accredited, Public Relations) designation from the Public Relations Society of America. Phillips is a former member of the Arthur W. Page Society and also The Seminar, two select international membership organizations for senior public relations and communications executives.
“I’m honored to be selected as the 2020 recipient of the James W. Schwartz award from the Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication. This is such a prestigious award and receiving it is truly one of the highlights of my career. Like so many Greenlee alums, I owe much of my success to the outstanding foundation I was given here. Greenlee’s ongoing mission of training leaders in journalism, advertising and public relations has never been more important than it is today. And it’s such an honor to join all the previous recipients who learned their craft at Greenlee,” Phillips said.
Phillips will be recognized at the Iowa State University College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Honors and Awards Ceremony in the fall and at the 2021 Greenlee Awards and Honors Banquet in the spring.
About the James W. Schwartz Award
The James W. Schwartz Award is the highest honor conferred by Iowa State University’s Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication. It is awarded in honor of alumnus James W. Schwartz (1941), who served as department chair of the school for 13 years and president of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication. The Schwartz Award has been presented since 1978 to leaders in journalism and related fields. The school’s advisory council and faculty nominate candidates and faculty and staff select the winner. Previous honorees include four Pulitzer Prize winners, distinguished broadcast journalists, authors, advertising and public relations executives, newspaper and magazine publishers and editors and leading writers in a variety of specialty areas.
About the Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication
At Iowa State University’s Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication, students create their adventures in a top communication program. In the classroom, students practice the latest communication trends and methods as they are mentored by award-winning practitioners and respected scholars. They also apply their skills through involvement in student media and organizations. A required professional media internship gives undergraduates an industry experience that builds their resumes and portfolios and prepares them for success as they enter the workforce. The Greenlee School has been continuously accredited by ACEJMC since its initial accreditation in 1948. The Greenlee School offers three undergraduate majors – journalism and mass communication, advertising and public relations – and a master’s degree in journalism and mass communication.