Stonehill Professor Receives PRSA Highest Honor

November 14, 2014

Professor Jack Jackson with his wife at PRSA Annual Meeting where he received the Diane Davis Beacon Award

The Public Relations Society of America’s (PRSA) Boston Chapter presented Stonehill Adjunct Professor of Communication Jack Jackson with its most prestigious honor, the Diane Davis Beacon Award, on Wednesday, November 12 at its Annual Meeting. The award recognizes the extraordinary achievements of a Boston-area PR professional.

Jackson was honored for his numerous professional achievements, service to the communications community, and his passion as a teacher, mentor and a tireless advocate for the pancreatic cancer cause.

“Jack embodies the best of our profession through his achievements, his character and his contributions. It’s been a privilege to serve alongside him on the PRSA leadership team,” said Julie Dennehy, president, PRSA Boston. “He has always been a go-to person his colleagues could turn to for help, and he blends strong leadership with the ability to truly listen to our membership. On behalf of the Boston PR community, I’m honored to recognize the great impact he has had on the communications profession in Boston and the next generation of leaders.”

Jackson’s 30-year communications career spans positions as a UPI reporter, WCVB-TV news producer, executive vice president at Shandwick plc, a leading PR firm that merged with Weber, principal of two communications agencies that he founded and corporate PR manager for Fortune 500 high-tech firms.

“I’m grateful to the chapter for the opportunity to work with so many fabulous people, and for allowing me to serve the membership and our PR community in ways that continue to be professionally rewarding,” said Jackson.

Currently, he serves as president of On-Message PR which specializes in providing positioning, messaging and media relations counsel.  He has taught at Stonehill since 2008.

Jackson, who was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer two years ago, made it his personal mission to advocate for expanded research into early detection and treatment, and relied on his PR expertise to raise awareness, lobby and fundraise as well as educate others about potential new protocols. He also established an ongoing blog addressing medical, personal and emotional aspects of coping with the disease.

This year Jackson joined 500 advocates from around the country on Capitol Hill to speak with more than 400 Senate and House lawmakers about expanding pancreatic cancer research.  Additionally, Jackson and his wife, Cindy, were the top fundraisers for Pancreatic Action Network's 2014 "Purple Stride" walk in Boston. Also this month, Jackson is to be recognized by the National Pancreas Foundation's Boston chapter with its annual Courage Award, honoring a patient who has shown strength and tenacity when dealing with pancreatic disease.

During his professional career, Jackson has written proprietary software tools for firms to quantitatively develop corporate and product messaging, as well as media training courseware.

At Shandwick, then the world's largest independent PR agency, he was managing director of the Seattle office, where he served as lead PR counselor for Microsoft's high-profile websites, including Microsoft Network,, and the Expedia online travel service. 

Jackson earned his MBA in marketing, with high honors, from Boston University’s Graduate School of Management. He holds a bachelor’s of science in biology from Pennsylvania State University.