Inaugural Linda and Steve Simon Family Fellowship Presented during JRSM Awards Banquet

Assistant Professor Melissa Janoske, Ph.D, received the inaugural Linda and Steve Simon Family Fellowship during the Department of Journalism and Strategic Media Student Awards Banquet in April. The fellowship honors the late S&S Public Relations (now SSPR) founder Steve Simon and is the University's first fellowship dedicated to public relations faculty. 

The Linda and Steve Simon Family Fellowship is a signature professional faculty fellowship for an outstanding early career public relations faculty member in the Department of Journalism and Strategic Media. The fellowship will enable the department to attract and retain promising faculty and strengthen the education of public relations professionals. The Simon Fellow will be able to utilize the funds for key initiatives such as projects in the student-run PR agency, academic-related travel and professional development.

Steve Simon graduated from the University of Memphis in 1969 with a degree in journalism. Linda and Steve met as students and worked together on the sports desk at The Tiger Rag, the student newspaper later renamed The Daily Helmsman.

After graduating, Steve worked as press secretary for the mayor of Memphis and then took on executive roles at several PR agencies in Chicago. In 1978, Steve founded S&S Public Relations Inc., which specialized in franchise PR. At the dawn of the digital age, Steve pioneered PR strategies and tactics that continue to support the world's thriving technology ecosystem.

Steve passed away in 2015 at the age of 67 after battling the organ disease amyloidosis. SSPR now thrives under the leadership of CEO Heather Kelly, who worked with Steve for 17 years.