Public Relations Pioneer Ruth F. Hammond Dies
Toronto, October 22, 2015
Ruth Hammond, APR, ABC, FCPRS(H), D.Hum.Litt(H), didn’t just understand newspapers, public relations, the importance of education and people, she truly understood why mentoring women to achieve in business was essential.
She made a difference to the careers of many women practicing public relations in Canada today. Hammond died on October 16, 2015 at the age of 95 years. She began her career as a teacher of English and History in Ontario and in the Bahamas in the 1940s. Returning to Canada, she moved to a journalism career and became a reporter with The Toronto Star, and served as Women’s Editor from 1946-1950. As a member of Canada’s first newspaper Guild at The Toronto Star, Ruth was among the first women to speak out in the interests of achieving significant gains in terms of employee salaries, rights, and working conditions in the newsrooms of the day.
For Ruth, understanding the benefits of matching private sector and public media needs, forming her own public relations consulting company seemed a natural. In addition to her consulting work, her diverse career included work with Girl Guides of Canada, Metropolitan Life Assurance Company, Young and Rubicam, Drake International, Ontario College of Art and Vickers and Benson—all in communication leadership roles.
During the 1950s, charitable organizations were growing across Canada and many of the leaders of these organizations invited Ruth to provide needed fund raising and communications assistance. Chief among them were the Canadian Cancer Society, Ontario Heart & Stroke Foundation, The Lung Association, the YM/YWCA, and the United Way. In 1956, Ruth Hammond joined the Canadian Public Relations Society, and was the first woman to be accredited by the Society. Committed to the development of public relations education, she and her colleagues established some of the first public relations courses at Ryerson Polytechnical Institute (now Ryerson University), York University, and the University of Toronto.
Her colleagues and friends established a scholarship in her honour in 1985 that is offered to public relations students demonstrating professionalism, and she was awarded an honorary Doctorate by Mount Saint Vincent University for her work in public relations education. A memorial gathering will take place at Belmont House, Toronto. Memorial gifts to honour Ruth may be made to the Communications + Public Relations Foundation, Suite 1515, 73 Widdicombe Hill Blvd, Toronto, M9R 4B3.
• Valuable Service Award, Belmont House Foundation, 2002
• Canadian Public Relations Society College of Fellows, 2001
• Honorary Doctorate, D.Hum.Litt (H), Mount Saint Vincent University, 1998
• Philip A. Novikoff Memorial Award, Canadian Public Relations Society, 1995
• Member, Canadian Public Relations Society, 1956 - 1989
• Life Member, Canadian Public Relations Society, 1989-2015
• Award of Excellence in Communications, Ontario Community Colleges, 1986
• Award of Excellence, Ontario College of Art, 1982 • YWCA, Woman of Distinction Award, 1985
• Certificate of Achievement, Public Relations and Education, Government of Ontario, 1985
• International Association of Business Communicators, Gold Quill of Excellence, 1980 for External Communications Programs, Ontario College of Art
• Award of Attainment, Canadian Public Relations Society, 1979
• First Woman Accredited, Canadian Public Relations Society, 1968 Professional and Community Service
• Director, Belmont House Foundation, 1998-2002
• Director, Toronto Press Club, 1980-1994
• Director, Canadian Public Relations Society (Toronto), 1969-1974
• President, Canadian Women’s Press Club, Toronto, 1966-1967
To contact the Communications + Public Relations Foundation for more information:
Karen Dalton, APR, FCPRS(H), CAE
Communications + Public Relations Foundation
4195 Dundas Street West, Suite 346
Phone: (416) 239 7034
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