Get to Know: Frank Maurizio '77
"I am thrilled to see Utica College expand into the community and to be an important part of its comeback."
The Chair of Utica College’s Raymond Simon Institute of Public Relations and Journalism (RSI), Frank Maurizio '77, recently retired after 20 years as a manager in the Communications Department of New York State United Teachers.
Prior to that, he's held positions that included director of communications for United University Professions; executive news and Sunday editor at the Albany Times Union; and reporter at Utica Observer-Dispatch and Gloversville Leader-Herald. He also served 8 years on the Schenectady City Council and was an adjunct writing instructor at Schenectady County Community College.
Currently living in Chattanooga, TN, he looked back on his career, his time at Utica college, and the opportunities he feels the College and the Ray Simon Institute offer students.
What was the highlight of your career?
I have been fortunate to have had several careers, including in my majors – PR and journalism – as well as in local politics and, for a short while, as a small business owner (as an entrepreneur, I proved to be a very good writer and editor). I can’t pick a single favorite or a highlight. They all provided interesting challenges, opportunities to work with tremendously talented professionals – some of whom became good friends – and a chance to learn and grow. They also all showed me the important role communications plays in every walk of life. Being able to tell a story, to be persuasive and to communicate clearly and succinctly are all integral to success. And that’s increasingly the case as our world gets smaller and the ability to connect becomes more necessary. So, the skills I started honing at Utica College went with me throughout my career – 41 very satisfying years.
What is your favorite memory of UC?
In a very real – and weird – way, I may be creating my favorite UC memories now. I did not have a traditional college experience when I was a student: I transferred in as a junior and was a ‘commuter’ who lived at home, with a part-time job and a full-time girlfriend. Other than classes, I didn’t spend much time on campus. I missed out on a lot of what college students deal with (good and bad) and I regret that. That’s probably part of the reason I have gotten so deeply involved with RSI. It’s given me an opportunity to collaborate with students – current and alumni – and faculty, to share ideas and to enjoy what the UC community has to offer on campus and to the City of Utica, where I grew up and still have family.
What do you see for the future of RSI?
I am excited about RSI’s future. We have a dynamic, diverse committee of advisors who bring all sorts of experiences and ideas to the Institute. Of course, we will continue to financially support and recognize outstanding students, as we always have. There’s always a need and that’s an important role for us. But, more and more, we’re interested in being vocal advocates for our communications majors and for the professions we represent. We want to offer ourselves as mentors, formal and informal. And we want to assist the UC staff charged with promoting the public relations, journalism and marketing programs the college offers. UC alumni have great stories to tell and who better than us? After all, we’ve built our careers by being storytellers.
What are your impressions of UC today?
As a native of Utica who still has many ties to the city, I am thrilled to see Utica College expand into the community and to be an important part of its comeback. College campuses – and the people who work and live on them – are economic and social engines for small cities and I am proud that UC has stepped up to fill that role. The college’s leaders should get a lot of credit for recognizing that Utica College prospers when it invests in the city’s revitalization.
How do you think Ray Simon's legacy can help the students of today and tomorrow?
It’s RSI’s fervent hope that Professor Simon will always be remembered as someone who was not only an early pioneer of Utica College but also of the public relations profession. His impact on PR practitioners across the country lives on. RSI will continue to honor that legacy while recognizing and supporting the rapid changes that take place in our communications professions seemingly every day. It’s an exciting time to be in the communications field and RSI is committed to assisting our students transition from the classroom to the workplace, where they can become the kind of leaders that would make Ray Simon proud.
by PR and RSI Intern Jessica Bates '20
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