Department of Advertising and Public Relations

Stan Richards talks to supporters Tuesday afternoon after an event celebrating the renaming of the Department of Advertising and Public Relations in his honor.

Photo Credit: Griffin Smith | Daily Texan Staff

A crowd filled the auditorium in the Belo Center for New Media on Tuesday in celebration of the new Stan Richards School of Advertising and Public Relations.

“This is the greatest honor of my life,” said Stan Richards, founder of the advertising agency The Richards Group. “We have a new school just waiting to propel advertising to new heights.”  

The school, previously known as the Department of Advertising and Public Relations, changed its name in early September after a $10 million fundraising campaign. The school will continue to be housed under the Moody College of Communication.

“The department was already one of the top advertising schools in the country,” said Nick Hundley, Moody College director of communications. “This will only elevate it more.”

Student volunteers from the school wore shirts, printed with an imitation of Stan Richards’ notorious glasses, to commemorate the event. Richards received a commemorative picture of the naming of the school.

Moody College Dean Roderick Hart said the event came together almost effortlessly. 

“The fact that we’re able to name the department within the college is a big deal,” Hart said.

Noting that the department has always had the “most exalted” reputation, Hart said The Richards Group has long been a friend of the college. 

“Students from here go on to work in New York, Chicago, San Francisco and other places,” Hart said. “The funds we raised will help us remain on the cutting edge of faculty and students.” 

Public relations senior Hugo Rojo said he couldn’t wait to see what new opportunities would become available through the school as a result of the increased support.

“A lot of the best students who graduate from the department go on to work for The Richards Group,” Rojo said. “Richards has always supported the college.”

After a $10 million campaign, the Department of Advertising and Public Relations will become the Stan Richards School of Advertising and Public Relations. 

The school will be named after Stan Richards, the founder of the largest independently-owned advertising agency in the world, The Richards Group. According to Roderick Hart, outgoing dean of the Moody College of Communication, advertising professor Patricia Stout will be the new director of the school. 

Isabella Cunningham, advertising professor and outgoing chair of the department, said Richards has always supported the advertising and public relations department at UT. 

“He wanted [UT] to continue to be number one in advertising when it came to faculty and resources,” Cunningham said. “When we set out to raise funds five years ago, there wasn’t really a trend in advertising agencies giving to higher education. Stan Richards has changed all that. … Richards has hired some of the best students in advertising, as well as making monetary contributions.”

Advertising professor John Murphy said the department has worked with Richards for more than 30 years. 

“The school for advertising and public relations at UT finally adopting Mr. Richards’ name is just a public display of the relationship that has existed for many years,” Murphy said. “Being able to associate with Richards openly is a huge feather in our cap as a department. We, here at UT, share in Mr. Richards’ idea of striving for perfection in our work.”

The department has been working toward this transition for several years, Hart said.

“We are flattered and honored to share names with Stan Richards; no one is more deserving,” Hart said. “Stan is an advertising legend. We are very thankful for everything he has done for the department and will continue to do for the school.”

According to Hart, schools tend to have more regard and are better at graduate job placement than departments are. 

“The future of the school for advertising and public relations is in the youthful and energetic hands of the exceptional new faculty and the new director of the school, Patricia Stout,” Hart said.

The Moody College will hold an event celebrating the change on Sept. 23 in the Belo Center for New Media.

Correction: This story inaccurately reported The Richards Group is the largest advertising agency in the world. It is, in fact, the world's largest independently-owned advertising agency.