CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Feb. 9, 2011 — Michael Lewellen, current chairman of the board of directors for the Central Florida Urban League and 29-year public relations veteran, will present the Department of Mass Media’s Michael Davis Lecture Feb. 23 at Southeast Missouri State University.
The common hour lecture is scheduled for noon in the Forrest H. Rose Theatre on the second floor of the Grauel Building. The event is free and open to the public and is part of the University’s Black History Month festivities.
The Michael Davis Lecture recognizes the contributions of African-Americans in the media. The event also honors the late Michael Davis, a mass communications student at Southeast who died as a result of a hazing incident.
In the unpredictable world of public relations practitioners, Michael Lewellen has carved a successful, award-winning career with such iconic brands as NIKE, Turner Sports, Fox Sports Net, Black Entertainment Television and NBC Universal, just to name a few.
Throughout his 29 year career, Lewellen has gained noted expertise in media strategies, reputation management, entertainment publicity, public affairs, crisis management and brand communications.
His ability as a communications strategist and spokesperson has landed him appearances on CNN, Fox News Channel, MSNBC, National Public Radio, American Urban Radio Network, ABC, CBS and a host of other national, regional and local media outlets.
From 2007 through 2009, Lewellen served as vice president of public relations at Universal Orlando Resort, where he supervised media communications, theme park and attractions publicity, and crisis management.
After leaving Universal Orlando and at a time when the Central Florida region needed his leadership, Lewellen stepped in as acting chief executive officer of the Central Florida Urban League, the region’s leading civil rights and economic equality agency.
After stepping down as chief executive officer, Lewellen settled in to the role of chairman of the League’s board of directors, while also managing a growing public relations consultancy business.
Prior to joining Universal Orlando, he served for seven years as senior vice president of corporate communications for Viacom, Inc. a subsidiary of Black Entertainment Television.
Before joining BET in 1999, Lewellen held a variety of public relations positions including vice president of media relations for FOX Sports Network; director of public relations for Turner Sports in Atlanta; and worked in public relations, strategic planning and product line management positions during a five-year span at NIKE, Inc.’s world headquarters.
A native of Jonesboro, Ark., Lewellen holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Arkansas State University, and is an internationally accredited public relations practitioner through the Public Relations Society of America and the International Association of Business Communicators.
In 2009, the 58th Annual Southern Regional Press Institute at Savannah State University in Savannah, Ga., bestowed on Lewellen the Robert S. Abbott Memorial Award for Meritorious Service in Mass Communications.
The National Black Public Relations Society honored Lewellen in 2005 with its highest honor, the Founders Award, for his achievements in the public relations profession.
PR Week Magazine has recognized Lewellen multiple times as one of the country’s top African Americans in the field of public relations – first in 1999 and twice in 2003, including a spot on the coveted “In-House A-List” of the country’s best communications executives at major corporations.
Along with the Urban League, Lewellen serves on the board of the Garden Theatre performing arts center in Winter Garden, Fla.
He’s an active member of the National Association of Black Journalists, National Black Public Relations Society, International Association of Business Communicators, Public Relations Society of America, Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity and the United States Professional Tennis Association.