Grady alumnus Don Perry was responsible for building and growing the public relations function at Chick-fil-A, and representing the brand for nearly 30 years.
Chick-fil-A VP, Grady alumnus dies
Date: July 31, 2012
Author: Suzanne Rutledge
Contact: Parker Middleton, email@example.com
Grady lost a valuable leader, mentor, friend and alumnus on Friday, July 27. Don Perry, vice president of public relations for Chick-fil-A, passed away at his home in Lithonia, Ga. His wife Marilyn was at his side.
Don joined Chick-fil-A in 1983 and was the first and only public relations professional employed by the company at the time. He was responsible for building and growing the public relations function at Chick-fil-A, and representing the brand for nearly 30 years.
A 1974 graduate of the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication with a degree in Public Relations, Don supported his alma mater his entire life. He was a member of the Grady Board of Trust, board of trustees for the UGA Foundation and a member of the UGA Board of Visitors. In 2011, he received the Blue Key Service Award from UGA's Blue Key Honor Society. Don also received Grady College's John Holliman Jr. Alumni Award for Lifetime Achievement, and he was inducted into the Grady Fellowship, which was created in 2008 to recognize individuals whose lives and careers lend measurably to the reputation Grady College enjoys. He was recently profiled in Georgia Magazine, UGA's alumni magazine. Read the article.
Don volunteered in the classroom and frequently led discussions in introductory public relations courses at UGA. He was a graduate of Leadership Atlanta, a member of the advisory board for Sisters ... By Choice, Inc., a breast-cancer awareness support organization, and an elder and teacher at Hillcrest Church of Christ in Decatur, Ga. Don was Atlanta chapter president of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) in 1993, and was later inducted into the PRSA Hall of Fame.
"Don was always thoughtful, always incisive, always for us," said Dr. E. Culpepper "Cully" Clark, dean of the Grady College. "Don loved Grady and we cherished and appreciated his support and friendship. He left a legacy of leadership here at the University and will be sorely missed."
"Don Perry will be missed," said W. Chris Jones, President of the Grady Board of Trust and Executive Director of State Government Affairs, Verizon. "He made many contributions to our state and UGA. He was the consummate PR professional and blazed a pioneering path in the practice of public affairs."
"Don was not only a pioneer and leading example in our profession, he was a wonderful human being," said Melissa Libby, fellow Board of Trust member, Melissa Libby & Associates. "He shared his wisdom freely and humbly. We will miss his insights at our Grady Board meetings. We will miss his easy smile."
"Don Perry’s personification of the spirit and pride of Grady was evident in the professionalism he demonstrated each day and extended to the lives he touched," said Swann Seiler, ABJ ’78, past president of the Board of Trust and fellow UGA Foundation trustee. "The success of the campaigns and growth of his beloved Chick-fil-A under his external leadership should be case studies for every Ad and PR student in our classes. I will miss his wise counsel, friendship and his loyalty to the red and black."
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