Agency contribution honors founder

I'd rather have a $5 strategy and a 50-cent implementation than a 50- cent strategy and a $5 implementation." Ralph Gregory.

RALPH GREGORYThese words, heard by many, now greet a new generation of advertising campaign students at the University of South Carolina's College of Mass Communications and Information Studies to honor the man who lived by them.

Ralph Gregory is the "Gregory" in what was then the Columbia ad agency Newman Saylor & Gregory. When Gregory retired last year, NS&G's partners thought the best way to honor him was through an endowment to his alma mater, the University of South Carolina.

The five-year, $35,000 commitment will provide equipment for the newly renovated suite used by the advertising and public relations campaign competition teams. A copy of Gregory's oft-quoted words on strategy and communication hang in that suite.

"That class should be real-life experience for those students," said Lee Bussell, now chief executive of Chernoff Newman Silver & Gregory, the agency that emerged from the union of NS&G and Chernoff Silver & Associates.

The classroom and learning space "create the environment of teamwork, but they don't have the dollars right now to put in the latest technology," Bussell said. With the improvements provided by the endowment, "students can be in an environment that's conducive to creative thinking, teamwork and great advertising," he said.

Providing an environment where teamwork can flourish is key, said David Anderson, vice chairman at CNSG and a colleague of Gregory's for 27 years.

"In advertising, people work together to fashion the best concepts. It's not individuals going out and doing their piece and coming back together," Anderson said. "It's great minds sitting together, and one person facilitating the great minds."

Bussell sees the $35,000 endowment as just beginning a partnership between USC and other area advertising and public relations agencies. As a member of the School of Journalism's Partnership Board, Bussell has been working to involve those agencies and says that by addressing the quality of education in a practical fashion, communications professionals can improve the talent available in the Columbia area.

"This helps USC educate graduates that in turn help these agencies," Bussell said. "We need homegrown talent to compete on a higher level."

By Erin Galloway Wilson
Communications, South Carolina March of Dimes
USC Class of 1996

Page 1
  • Agency honors founder
  • Ralph Gregory: A strategy man
  • Carter to become director
  • Page 2
  • Bringing the outdoors up close
  • Alumni scholarship awarded
  • Tanner joins faculty
  • Dr. Alan Fried remembered
  • Grad finds best seat in the house
  • Page 3
  • The Dean speaks
  • Friedman to speak at USC
  • Moving out of coliseum?
  • Dean's Circle'
  • Page 4
  • Alumni Notes
  • Ralph Gregory:
    A strategy man

    When Ralph Gregory was a student at the University of South Carolina, the College of Journalism was on the Horseshoe and had 25 to 30 students.

    After his graduation in 1954, Gregory helped found an agency that concentrated on strategy and service, rather than costs and client fees.

    In the early days of Newman, Saylor & Gregory, "our clients didn't have much money for implementation, so we had to have really strong strategy," remembers Lee Bussell, a longtime associate of Gregory's and now chief executive of Chernoff Newman Silver & Gregory.

    David Anderson, another veteran of the agency and one of Gregory's longtime friends, said Gregory's legacy is his emphasis on staying focused on the client and on honing the ability to retain clients. Anderson said Gregory kept one client for 25 years and another for 22 years.

    "He taught us all about being client focused," Anderson said.

    Gregory also was frugal. Anderson said that cost consciousness he saw in working for 25 years alongside Gregory has helped him in his own management as vice chairman of the agency, one of South Carolina's largest.

    "Ralph didn't like parting with his money," Anderson said. "I think we've got some of those frugal genes embedded throughout this agency."

    Gregory, who also was fond of saying, "If you don't know where you're going, you're not likely to know when you get there," was very much a strategist, to the point of having a strategy for keeping his agency alive past the retirement of the original partners.

    There was a time when agencies just didn't have a succession plan, Bussell said. The names on the letterhead "just retired and the agencies faded away."

    But CNSG is a member of the North American Advertising Network, whose goal in part is to help agencies plan for the future. In 1990, when it was just NS&G, the agency developed its the plan for its future beyond the retirement of Gregory and Van Newman, another of its founders.

    Anderson said the best evidence of Gregory's belief in planning was the frequent retreats to discuss strategies for clients

    "He'd always say, 'We're gonna take a trip,' and it was always to Newberry. 'You gotta get the car gassed up; you gotta pack your luggage; you gotta get a road map,' " Anderson said. "He'd put it in simple terms that everyone could understand: If you're going to take a trip, you've got to have a plan. If you're going to run a company or help a client, you've got to have a plan."

    Now as, as CNSG, it's the largest advertising agency in Columbia and one of the three largest in South Carolina. Its clients include NBSC, Nickelodeon, TNN, Pirelli, Avanex, the South Carolina Education Lottery, Palmetto Health and Santee Cooper.

    Newman has retired from the agency but recently served on the search committee that hired Charles Bierbauer as dean of the merged College of Mass Communications and Information Studies. Bussell is chairman-elect of the School of Journalism's Partnership Board.

    Shirley Staples Carter to become director

    Dr. Shirley Staples Carter, a well-respected journalism educator and administrator who will become the first director of the School of Journalism and Mass Shirley Staples CarterCommunications in July, says the program can become one of the top 10 in the nation.

    Carter will become the first director of the school, which was formed when the College of Journalism and Mass Communications and the College of Library and Information Sciences merged last summer.  Dr. Erik Collins has served as interim director this year.

    Carter, currently director of the Elliott School of Communications at Wichita State University, was chosen after a nationwide search.  She has more than 20 years' experience as a department chairperson and director at universities in Kansas, Virginia, Florida, Louisiana and Texas.  From 1999 to 2000, she was president of the Association of Schools of Journalism and Mass Communication, the first African-American elected to that position.

    "I'm eager to have Dr. Carter bring her experience as a scholar and administrator to the school.  Her strengths in advertising and public relations will add to our stature as a national leader in those disciplines," said Dean Charles Bierbauer of the College of Mass Communications and Information Studies.

    Carter said she was "absolutely thrilled" to be joining the new school. 

    "For deciades, journalism and mass communication education at the University of South Carolina has been well regarded by both industry professionals and the academy, with consistent rankins in the top 12 or 15 for its advertising and public relations curriculum, and distinguished alumni base, for example," Carter said.

    "Now, with the recent restructuring of the College to include an emphasis in information studies, the launch of Newsplex, the combined strengthss and talents of the SJMC and School of Information Science faculty and the dynamic leadership of a new dean, I believe that the possibilities are endless for the CMCIS and SJMC to becoe one of the top 10 programs in the country.

    "I look forward to working with the College administration, SJMC faculty, staff, students, alumni and other important constituencies to make this happen."

    Carter earned her doctorate in journalism with a concentration in marketing from the University of Missouri-Columbia.  She holds a master's degree in journalism from Ohio State University and a bachelor's in English from Tuskegee University.

    Carter has been at Wichita State since 2000.  Prior to that she was founding chairperson of departments at Prairie View A&M, the Texas A&M system and the University of North Florida.  She also headed Norfolk State University's Department of Mass Communications and Journalism that under her leadership received its first accreditation by the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communication.

    Her practical experience in journalism and mass communications includes newspaper reporting ane editing, public broadcasting, public relations and advertising.

    She established a multicultural program in journalism at Louisiana State University with grants from the New York Times Company Foundation and the Gannett Foundation.  Carter also collaborated with media professionals in Norfolk, Va., to create post-graduate internships in news, sales and production, and with the Kansas media and that state's press association to establish a center at the Elliott School on Freedom of Information-related issues.

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