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PRSA has been a strong, active part of Minnesota’s communications community since 1949 when the chapter was first formulated. At that time Hubert Humphrey was elected to his first term in the United States Senate, the Minneapolis Lakers won the NBA Championship and Earl Bakken founded Medtronic. And downtown Minneapolis looked a lot different.


In 1953, the chapter elected its first President and a few years later the first enclosed shopping mall in the world was opened in Edina.


Here are a few highlights from the chapter's history.

  • 1974 – First woman chapter president, Lois Wollan
  • 1978 – First awards banquet, called First Annual PRSA Awards 
  • 1980 – The first year the awards called Classics
  • 1983 – First time Classics was held in St. Paul
  • 1983 – Minnesota PRSA Recognition Award given to John Verstraete, of 3M
  • 1983 – First time award winners announced at banquet and first Best of Show given.
  • 1986 – Donald Padilla wins Paul M. Lund Public Service Award
  • 1986 – Classics categories align with Silver Anvils to make it easier to submit entries 
  • 1990 – Ann Barkelew, APR, is the first Minnesotan inducted into the PRSA College of Fellows
  • 1990 – Classics II category introduced to recognize tactical components of PR programs
  • 1994 – The Minnesota chapter honored with the 1994 Best of Chapter Excellence Award from PRSA
  • 1995 – First Minnesota PRSA Community Classic Award given to Roland Minda, APR
  • 1995 – John Beardsley, APR, serves as PRSA President
  • 1996 – Minnesota PRSA launches first website
  • 1996 – Community Classic Award renamed in honor of the late Donald G. Padilla, who had been the recipient of PRSA’s Paul M. Lund Award in 1986, the highest honor for public service.  
  • 1997 – Minnesota PRSA hires Nonprofit Solutions to provide chapter management
  • 1998 – Gov. Jesse Ventura attends the Classics Awards to honor his communications manager Gerry Drewry, who won an award for his gubernatorial campaign.
  • 2000 – Website redesigned; electronic Link member newsletter introduced
  • 2003 – Partnership with Twin Cities Business for groundbreaking "What Business Thinks"
  • 2004 – PRSA Today newsletter shifts from monthly to quarterly distribution
  • 2012 – Young Professional Award introduced; first recipient is Marne Anderson
  • 2013 – Doug Spong, APR, Fellow PRSA, wins PRSA Gold Anvil Award 
  • 2013 – David Hakensen, APR, receives inaugural Midwest District Platinum Award
  • 2019 – Marsha Pitts-Phillips, APR, named first Diversity and Inclusion Officer