A memorial will be held on Saturday, Oct. 10, at 4 p.m. at the Yachats Community Presbyterian Church.
SOJC Associate Professor Emeritus Jack Ewan died Wednesday, October 7 in Yachats from complications of Multiple Sclerosis. He was 85.
A member of the faculty faculty from 1964 until his retirement in 1985 Ewan has been credited with building the school’s Public Relations courses into an accredited major. He was responsible for the founding of the first Public Relations Student Society of America Chapter at the University of Oregon, the first in the Northwest District.
Professor Tom Bivins’ 75th Anniversary history of the school notes that this was the first PRSSA chapter in the Northwest. Until his retirement in 1985, Ewan guided the public relations program in the journalism school to high-profile involvement both regionally and nationally.
Since the late 1980s, the school has awarded the Jack Ewan Award to an outstanding graduating student in its PRSSA chapter. “When the award was instituted, there was no doubt in anyone’s mind that it should be called the Jack Ewan Award. Jack Ewan was an actual pioneer in public relations,” Bivins says. “He not only founded the first PRSSA chapter in the region, he personally trained hundreds of professionals now practicing public relations in the Northwest and around the country. I still run into seasoned hands in the industry who remember with fondness his rigor and enthusiasm and credit their success directly to his teaching.”
Liz Cawood, president of Cawood, a communications and PR firm in Eugene and a longtime supporter of the SOJC, worked with Ewan to found the local PRSA chapter as well as the PRSSA chapter at the school. She says she remembers fondly “talking with Ewan about public relations strategies.”
“He was such a reservoir of knowledge and so willing to share it that I always felt energized after seeing him,” she says. “Students wholeheartedly admired him, and he played a significant role in the success of many public relations professionals. When we formed the Greater Oregon PRSA Chapter in 1990, Jack was helpful and supportive. I enjoyed working with him to sponsor the first PRSSA chapter at the University of Oregon. In my mind, he’s one of the giants in our industry. I’m glad to have known him, and I’m certain his spirit will live on through his many students and colleagues.”
Ewan graduated from Northwestern University and worked for many years in public relations and advertising—including those for General Electric and Motorola in Chicago—before coming to the UO in 1964. He retired in 1986 to Yachats, where he was active in the Yachats Presbyterian Church, the Little Log Church, and the Yachats Planning Commission.
He is survived by his wife; his son, Steve Ewan of Hesperia, Calif.; his daughters, Barb Forsman of Ogden, Utah, and Jan Lafeman of Eugene, his sister, Phyllis Wiley of Tucson, Ariz., four grandchildren, Michelle Stinnett, Jackie Soria, Mike Boling and Jack Lafeman; and three great-grandchildren, Shane, Sarah and Sydney Boling.
Arrangements by ABC of Lincoln City.