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Kerry-Ann Hamilton
Media Relations Manager

AAAA Presents $250,000 Check to Howard University
Center for Excellence in Advertising off to a fast start

Photo by Justin D. Knight
Dr. Alvin Thornton, Interim Provost and Chief Academic Officer; Virgil Ecton, Vice President of University Advancement; Dr. Jannette L. Dates, Dean of the John H. Johnson School of Communications; David Prince, Senior Vice President of the American Association of Advertising Agencies; Jeff Burns, Member of the Board of Visitors of the John H. Johnson School of Communications; and Dr. Laura Fleet, Chair of the Department of Communications and Culture in the John H. Johnson School of Communications and Co-Director of the Howard University Professional Development and Leadership Academy.

WASHINGTON (Sept. 17, 2008) — The American Association of Advertising Agencies (AAAA) presented Howard University with a $250,000 check on Sept.15 to establish The Center for Excellence in Advertising.

David Prince, senior vice president for Director of Training, Education and Development at AAAA, presented the $250,000 contribution to Dr. Jannette L. Dates, dean of the John H. Johnson School of Communications, and to Dr. Laura Fleet, chair of the Department of Communications and Culture in the John H. Johnson School of Communications and co-director of the Howard University Professional Development and Leadership Academy.

Dates and Fleet will direct the grant that is part of a $5 million partnership between the AAAA and Howard University to create a comprehensive center at Howard that will address challenges, eliminate barriers and identify opportunities for achieving a more diverse and inclusive advertising industry workforce at middle to senior management levels.

"Today is the beginning of a venture that will address the key issues of diversity and inclusion in advertising," said Dates before an audience that included University officers, faculty, advertising professionals and the primary beneficiaries — students.
Prince emphasized the importance of recruiting skilled professionals of color who will excel in and contribute to a growing advertising industry.

"The AAAA, and small to large advertising agencies around the country know there are black professionals who have the skills, creativity and management experience to excel in middle to senior management positions in our expanding industry," Prince said. "We want them in our field."

Dates said The Center will partner with advertising agencies to develop workshops and grassroots efforts to reach out to senior level executives. It also will train current supervisors within the industry to help them improve their management skills, and help them develop stronger recruitment and retention efforts.

Additionally, Howard University will reach out to other Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to join The Center and participate in its comprehensive and professional programs to support black professionals in advertising, and those wanting to make lateral moves into advertising.

On Tuesday, Sept. 23, The Center will host its first HBCU Advertising Leadership Team meeting in the AAAA's New York City headquarters. The team is comprised of advertising, communications and marketing professors at HBCUs, as well as administrators from the universities who will assist The Center and the advertising industry in developing a national pipeline of diverse talent representing HBCU students and alumni, and other executives of color who will receive specialized training through The Center.

For more information contact, Jannette L. Dates at 202-806-7694 or

Howard University is one of 48 U.S. private, Doctoral/Research-Extensive universities and comprises 12 schools and colleges. Founded in 1867, students pursue studies in more than 120 areas leading to undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees. Since 1998, the University has produced two Rhodes Scholars, a Truman Scholar, 19 Fulbright Scholars and 10 Pickering Fellows. Howard also produces more on-campus African- American Ph.D.s than any other university in the world. For more information about Howard University, call 202-238-2330, or visit the University's Web site at

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