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History of the Chapter of Distinction Program

The Chapter of Distinction Program began in 2009. SPRF established the awards program to promote continuous improvement in the function, outreach and benefits to members and communities stemming from the activities of its member chapters. This annual program encourages member organizations to evaluate yearly their own activities as well as plan ahead to make measurable progress in these areas.

At the annual conference, SPRF awards the top chapter and one Honorable Mention in eight individual achievement categories and recognizes the top, overall chapter with the Jamie Palmer Award. The individual who led the top, overall chapter during the awards’ eligibility period is named the SPRF President of the Year. Categories are as follows:

  • Accreditation

  • Chapter Management

  • Communication

  • Membership

  • Programs

  • Projects

  • Education

  • Public Service

About Jamie Palmer

Jamie Palmer, APR, is a longtime member of SPRF who has lived in all four member states, as well as the Middle East, Argentina and now Colombia. Palmer was in the charter group of Senior Practitioners in 1990 and served as the SPRF President in 1991. In 1995, she received SPRF’s highest individual honor, the Professional Achievement Award. She is a founding member of SPRF’s Council of Leaders. Palmer has a bachelor’s degree in public relations from the University of Oklahoma and a master’s in public relations/advertising from the University of Alabama. She has worked in the agency, nonprofit and corporate sectors and has taught public relations writing, management and campaigns.

Learn more about the SPRF Chapter of Distinction Program.


SPRF recognizes outstanding work in the field of public relations through its annual Lantern Awards program.

Entries are judged on their individual merit by PR practitioners outside SPRF's

four-state region.


Award-winning entries are recognized with Certificates of Merit, Awards of Excellence and Lantern Awards. A Best of Tier award winner is selected from the highest scored entries in each tier, with the Best of Show award selected from the three Best of Tier winners.

Learn more about the SPRF Lantern Awards Program.

Congratulations to our PRAM Central #SPRF2023 Lantern Award Winners! 🏆


Each year, SPRF member organizations are invited to nominate one outstanding public relations professional for the SPRF Professional Achievement Award, formerly known as the Practitioner of the Year.


The recipient of this award is announced at the SPRF annual conference. SPRF established this award to recognize an individual that has continually demonstrated the highest ideals of the profession as well as a commitment to advance the profession of public relations.

Learn more about the SPRF Professional Achievement Awards Program.


PRAM Central SPRF Professional Achievement Award Winners: 

  • Mara Hartmann, APR (2023)

  • Christian Patterson, APR+M (2018)

  • Dr. Deiedre McGowan, APR, CAE (1998)

  • Philip Shirley, APR (1992)

8. Mara Hartmann, APR, Career Development.JPG

The senior practitioner designation was established to honor SPRF members who are recognized by their peers as veteran public relations professionals with high ethical standing. Nomination and selection are made by local chapter based on criteria set by the Federation. To receive the designation “senior practitioner,” a recipient must qualify in three of the following four criteria:

  • 15 years of full-time public relations experience

  • Accreditation by a UAB member organization

  • Officer or board member at the chapter, state or SPRF level

  • Recognition of professionalism as evidenced by such awards as Practitioner of the Year, Lantern Award or similar honor

Each chapter can name up to two members each year to be recognized as Senior Practitioners at the annual SPRF conference.

Learn more about the SPRF Senior Practitioners Awards Program.












PRAM Central SPRF Senior Practitioner Award Winners: 

  • Corie Jones (2022)

  • Patrice Sawyer Guilfoyle, APR (2019)

  • Matt Westerfield, APR (2019)

  • Liz Densmore, APR (2018)

  • Christian Patterson, APR+M (2018)

  • Sandi Beason, APR (2016)

  • Shannon Coker, APR (2015)

  • Robert Lesley (2015)

  • Shawn Rossi (2014)

  • Nicole Bradshaw, APR (2014)

  • Susan Christensen, APR (2013)

  • Mara Hartmann, APR (2013)

  • Patti Page Wade (2012)

  • Pete Smith (2011)

  • Carol Mann (2010)

  • Robby Channell (2009)

  • Jarrod Ravencraft (2008)

  • Lee Ragland (2007)

  • Caron Blanton, APR (2006)

  • Carl Crawford, APR (2005)

  • Lisa Wiley Hathorn, APR (2004)

  • Chrystelle Thames (2002)

  • Lll McKinnon-Hicks, APR (2000)

  • Rick Looser (1999)

  • Dr. Deiedre McGowan, APR, CAE (1997)

  • Kathryn Rodenmeyer, APR (1997)

  • Ginger Cocke (1996)

  • William Moak (1996)

  • Vicki Harper Blake, APR (1994)

  • Judy Ferguson, APR (1994)

  • Sheila Skipper, APR (1993)

  • Neal Cirlot (1992)

  • Barbara Brinson (1992)

  • Shirley W. Rutland, APR (1991)

  • Philip Shirley, APR (1990)

  • Yvonne Sorge, APR (1990)​​

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