Fred Cook, director of public relations at the University of Southern California and the chairman of Golin media company, will be this year's speaker at the Vernon C. Schranz Distinguished Lectureship Thursday.  

“Cook has built his career on improvisation with previous stints as a cabin boy, hotel doorman, substitute teacher and tour guide.” said Kiera Courtney, account director of Cardinal Communications. “Cook’s story can help inspire students of all majors.”

The Vernon C. Schranz Lecture is the nation's first endowed public relations lectureship and the longest running public relations lectureship in the nation.

Cook’s speech, the 39th of the lectureship series, is titled, “Improvise and Succeed: Advice from an Unlikely CEO.” He will discuss his unique journey to his current position and the obstacles that he overcame to get here.

The Schranz Networking Event, a time to help students connect with professionals in the public relations field, will be held prior to the event in the Alumni lounge of the L.A. Pittenger Student Center at 6:30 p.m.

Haley Gustafson, a senior public relations student and current creative and media services director of the MicKinley Avenue Agency, will receive the Mary H. Schranz scholarship. The former director of client relations for Cardinal Communications is being awarded the scholarship for demonstrating excellence in her field. 

"The lecture is such a beneficial event for public relations students as it provides the opportunity to hear from professionals in the industry and listen as they share their knowledge and experiences," Gustafson, who has attended four Schranz lectures, said. "It is special that the speaker series hosts such exceptional professionals as you normally would not have the opportunity to hear from professionals of this caliber.”

The lecture will begin 8:00 p.m. in the Student Center ballroom with a question and answer section to follow immediately after. Guests are encouraged to wear professional dress.