Angela Bradbery named new UF Karel Chair in Public Interest Communications

by | Jun 8, 2020

The University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications (UFCJC) announced that Angela Bradbery, Director of Communications for Public Citizen, has been named the new Frank Karel Endowed Chair in Public Interest Communications. She will be a faculty member in the College’s Department of Public Relations.

Bradbery, a 1986 UFCJC journalism graduate, succeeds Ann Christiano, who has served as the inaugural chair since 2010 and built the first program in the country dedicated to public interest communications. Christiano will continue to serve as director of the Center for Public Interest Communications at the College.

“We are honored to have someone with Angela’s experience, dedication and achievements join us as the next Karel Chair and build on the extraordinary accomplishments of Ann Christiano,” said UFCJC Dean Diane McFarlin. “Our College has been a pioneer in public interest communications education and in fostering relevant research, and we are excited to see Angela execute on her vision to advance the program.”

Bradbery has been with Public Citizen, one of the most effective public interest organizations in the country, since 1999 and has been Director of Communications since 2006. Her responsibilities included developing and implementing communication strategies at the national, state and local levels and leading communication planning and implementation for coalitions of allied public interest organizations.

“It is such an honor and privilege to be selected as the next Frank Karel Endowed Chair in Public Interest Communications,” Bradbery said. “This unique opportunity is a testament to the innovation and vision of Frank and Betsy Karel, as well as the University of Florida. Building the academic discipline of public interest communications is critical, especially now. I am excited at the challenge and opportunity to work with the gifted and inspiring teams in the Department of Public Relations and the Center for Public Interest Communications.”

In 2003, Bradbery co-founded Smokefree DC, a nonprofit, all-volunteer membership organization that achieved the passage of landmark smoke-free workplace legislation in Washington, D.C., in 2006. As part of that effort, Bradbery mobilized grassroots activists, did educational and media outreach and lobbied elected officials.

Prior to joining Public Citizen, she was a reporter with The Palm Beach Post in West Palm Beach, Florida, the South Florida Sun Sentinel in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and the Chicago Tribune. She covered a wide variety of issues, with a focus on local, regional and state government. In 1997, she moved to Washington, D.C., to work for Thompson Publishing Group.

As Frank Karel Chair, Bradbery will be responsible for continuing to build a curriculum in public interest communications, mentoring and advising students who plan to pursue careers in the field, identifying connections with other fields, establishing community among those who work in public interest communications and building a community of scholars whose research will help to establish public interest communications as a discipline.

The chair was endowed by Frank and Betsy Karelin 2010. Frank Karel, a UFCJC alumnus, spent his 30-year career using communication for social change and, as vice president for communications for the Robert Wood Johnson and Rockefeller Foundations, recognized the critical importance of strategic communication in taking on the world’s most important challenges.

“Public interest communications is more important now than ever before,” said Betsy Karel. “It’s gratifying to see someone of Angela Bradbery’s caliber take over Ann Christiano’s remarkable legacy. I know that Frank would be humbled and thrilled, as I am, by what has already been accomplished and excited to see what lies ahead.”

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