Gwen Griffin, ’85 | CEO, Griffin Communications Group
Professional Achievement Award 2014
Gwen Griffin’s decision to open her own advertising/PR agency may have seemed spontaneous, but it was not entirely so. The underlying foundation stems from her early interests in social engagement, which compelled her to pursue an education at UCF’s Nicholson School of Communication. After earning her degree, Griffin became highly involved in the aerospace industry promoting the space exploration.
Roger Pynn, ’73, president of Curley & Pynn and chair of the UCF College of Sciences Dean’s Advisory Board, has been a supporter of his alma mater and the UCF Alumni Association since he graduated. Dan Ward, ’92, vice president of Curley & Pynn, began serving on the UCF Alumni Association Board of Directors in 2006, and is currently back on the board for yet another term. With the association’s need for public relations, Roger, Dan and their partner, Kim Taylor (a UF alumna), stepped forward to help. Most recently, they have contributed their expertise to the alumni association’s strategic plan, which was implemented on July 1.
We sat down with Roger and Dan to ask them more about this integral partnership.
Q. Describe the history of Curley & Pynn’s partnership with the UCF Alumni Association. A. Curley & Pynn has been a proud partner of the UCF Alumni Association for many years. Roger’s walls are covered with memories of alumni association projects, including one of his earliest efforts, leading the Alumni Trust — a drive to raise $1 million for scholarships for merit scholars. The donors are recognized in perpetuity at Alumni Trust Plaza in front of Millican Hall, where the statue honoring former UCF President Charles Millican stands.
Roger was named Distinguished Alumnus in 1989. Dan served on the alumni board of directors for six years, and was asked by current Chair Peter Cranis, ’84, to return for another one-year term.
Q. Why does Curley & Pynn choose to partner with the UCF Alumni Association? A. First and foremost, we partner with UCF Alumni because of our love for the university and the impact it has had on our firm and our team of professionals. We also are drawn to the association’s mission. As a public relations firm, much of what we do is based on engagement, and the creation and management of relationships, and that’s central to the Alumni mission as well.
Q. How many UCF alumni does Curley & Pynn employ? A. We currently employ five proud UCF Knights, as well as an intern from the UCF Nicholson School of Communication. A degree is not a prerequisite for employment, but it certainly doesn’t hurt!
Q. How has Curley & Pynn benefited since partnering with the UCF Alumni Association? A. The primary benefit for any UCF Alumni partner is relationship building. The UCF Alumni Association creates opportunities for all alumni to connect with one another, with the university and with business partners throughout the region. The old saying that you’re judged by the company you keep is true, and we believe UCF Alumni has reached a point of prominence throughout the state.
Q. How does Curley & Pynn contribute to the UCF Alumni Association? A. In addition to our board service, Curley & Pynn provides in-kind public relations advice and counsel to the association. We also assign an account team to manage brand identification and strategic communication programs for the association, in support of its strategic plan.
Q. How is Curley & Pynn involved with UCF Homecoming? A. We’ve long been sponsors of the Black & Gold Gala, and work each year to drive public awareness of Homecoming events and of Distinguished Alumnus award winners.
Q. Is there any additional information you’d like to share about the Curley & Pynn and UCF Alumni Association partnership? A. We’re tremendously excited about the year ahead, as we develop communication strategies and programs to support the 2014-2019 strategic plan, which seeks to expand the reach of the association and refine its focus around themes of communication, engagement, relevancy and sustainable funding.