Beloved Senior Lecturer Robin Street will retire from full-time teaching May 31, ending her 30-year career with the University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media.
Street has taught and influenced hundreds of future public relations and communication professionals. She hopes to teach a class or two in the future, but will no longer teach the legendary class PR Techniques that launched so many students into communications careers.
Reaction from Street’s former students has been overwhelming, calling the news bittersweet as they post on social media or email her.
“I’m so sad that future students won’t get the chance to experience the Robin Street PR magic,” one former student wrote.
For Street, the decision is bittersweet as well.
“The school has meant so much to me, both as a graduate student and as an instructor,” Street said. After my first class in the journalism school, I knew I had found my home.
“Dr. Will Norton, then chair of the department, encouraged me to pursue studying public relations and was my thesis adviser. Now, he continues to encourage and inspire me as our dean.”
Several years after earning her degree, Street was hired to teach by Dr. Samir Husni.
“Dr. Husni changed my life when he gave me a chance to teach public relations,” Street said. “I can never thank him enough for having faith in me.”
Many students credit Street with shaping their communications career. They often write her to say they are using what they learned on the job, or they still hear her voice in their head when deciding how to handle a PR situation.
Student comments from social media or written to Street about her retirement include:
- “You’ve had such a significant impact on my life, and I am forever thankful for you. You’ve touched so many of us, and you have introduced some of us (including me) to a career path we originally didn’t consider. Anything I do in life will be attributed to you.”
- I truly do not know where I would be without you and the information you have instilled in me.
- “Through my time with you, I not only learned about PR, but I learned even more from you, personally. You are always in a good mood, focusing on what you are blessed with, instead of the problems ahead. You care about each person. I will never forget when you gave me a second chance … You showed me grace, and I have never forgotten that.”
- “I honestly couldn’t do this job without having taken all three of your classes. . . . Every single day, I apply something you taught me, and am totally ahead of the game in that I’m often advising my colleagues on the appropriate approach to take as it’s still so fresh in my mind.”
Scott Fiene, assistant dean for curriculum and assessment and associate professor of integrated marketing communications, said Street has a unique way with students that fosters learning.
“Plain and simple, students love her,” he said. “And it’s not just what she does in the classroom, but the way she gets to know students personally, connects with them, and stays in touch after they graduate. She is a known public relations figure in the region, and has the respect and admiration, not only of students and former students, but others in the industry.”
Dean Will Norton, Jr. said Street’s work sets the bar for public relations.
“Because Robin has taught writing intensely, she has raised public relations instruction to a new level,” he said. “When she talks about her students, her care and concern for students is apparent. I know she will miss teaching. It has become a part of her DNA.”
The School of Journalism and New Media is asking Street’s former students to pay tribute to her in three ways, ranging from their words to fund donations, to their presence at a celebration.
Former students are asked to write a statement of what Street meant to them and to their career, or to share their favorite story about Street. The statements will be organized into a bound volume. The statement should be written, if possible, on the letterhead of your employer. Send the statement as an attachment to Sarah Griffith at firstname.lastname@example.org by April 15.
Second, the School of Journalism and New Media has established the Robin Street Public Relations Students Support Fund to help PR students with funding for internships, attending conferences and entering competitions. It will also be used to establish the Robin Street Outstanding Public Relations Student award to be presented annually. To donate in Street’s honor, visit this link.
A celebration of Street’s career is planned for Friday, Oct. 23, from 6-8 p.m. at the Overby Center in Farley Hall during Fall 2020 Homecoming Weekend. Please join us. RSVP to Sarah Griffith at email@example.com.