Everyone who came to the reception told the same story. While the examples were unique and varied, the theme remained constant: This is one incredibly gifted teacher. This is a man who cares. This is a guy, so generous and sincere—and also so demanding and perfection-driven—that if you are interested in public relations, you do NOT want to miss his classes. And this is someone whose mentorship is available to any who ask, who deserves recognition for giving his all as a teacher and communication professional.
They were lauding Bob Larson, a Department of Communication lecturer for the past 14 years, at a reception held to honor his teaching excellence and to publicly announce the creation of the Bob Larson Communication Award. The award was funded by a local communication business that has employed many of Larson's former students and is meant to reward outstanding students who are focused on a career in public relations. Kailey Miller, a senior Communication major, is the first recipient.
Larson began his career as a lecturer at NC State with a single class in 1998. In 2010, the Raleigh Public Relations Society bestowed its Watt Huntley Award for Lifetime Achievement on Larson.
NC State’s Beta Chapter of the National Communication Honors Society has given him its “Graduating Seniors’ Award for Outstanding Teacher” eight times in the last decade.
“Bob Larson brings decades of industry experience and offers students a perspective that is relevant and cutting-edge,” says former student Elizabeth Montenyohl (Communication ‘10), an account manager at ClearImage. “He puts theories and best practices in a context that is easy to understand.”
Montenyohl says Larson goes above and beyond his duties in the classroom, and consistently earns the respect and admiration of students and peers alike. He makes himself available to students long after their classes with him end, mentoring many Communication alumni. “The fact that he is exceedingly humble and unassuming just serves to reinforce our admiration,” she says.
CHASS Dean Jeffery Braden and Communication Department Head Ken Zagacki joined other faculty members at the reception, along with a roomful of enthusiastic former students, many of whom are now established public relations professionals.