Ron Robinson Remembered as U of A Journalism Graduate and Supporter
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Ron Robinson, of Little Rock, a University of Arkansas graduate, the former leader of Arkansas’ largest advertising and public relations firm, and a long-time supporter of the U of A School of Journalism and Strategic Media died Tuesday, Aug. 14 after a long illness. He was 75.
He started working in journalism as a teenager in 1959, writing high school football stories on Friday nights for legendary sports editor Orville Henry at the Arkansas Gazette. He was paid $1 an hour.
Robinson planned to study journalism at the University of Missouri, until Henry offered him a job covering the Razorbacks – if he’d enroll at the U of A.
“Ron told me he’d never been to Fayetteville, or even had a thought about going there to school. But he was not about to say no to Orville Henry,” said Robinson’s friend Larry Foley, chair of the School of Journalism and Strategic Media.
In 1962 Robinson worked as a summer intern for the advertising agency he would later lead. He later quit the Gazette job to be sports editor for the Traveler and Razorback yearbook – ultimately becoming Traveler editor his senior year. That experience left a lasting impression – years later he endowed an annual scholarship that goes to the incoming Traveler editor.
Robinson joined the Air Force after graduation, serving as a public information officer. He rose to the rank of captain, earned a Bronze Star for his service in Vietnam and the Air Force Commendation Medal in 1969 for his support of the Apollo 11 mission to the moon.
In 1970 he was hired as director of public relations for the agency that would become CJRW, where he worked until his retirement in 1996, eventually becoming chairman and CEO of the company.
The University of Arkansas Alumni Association honored Robinson in 1997 with its Community Service Award, which is presented annually to a U of A graduate whose volunteer leadership has contributed significantly to the advancement of civic, state and national progress. He was honored in 2005 as a "Distinguished Alumnus" of the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences, and set up his endowed scholarship.
He was inducted into the Lemke Journalism Society Hall of Honor in 2016.
A celebration of Robinson’s remarkable life will be held at 5 p.m. in the Ron Robinson Theater, 100 River Market Avenue, Little Rock. In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to the Central Arkansas Library System, 4800 W. 10th Street, Little Rock, Arkansas 72204, or to the Ron Robinson Scholarship, c/o University of Arkansas School of Journalism and Strategic Media, 116 Kimpel Hall, Fayetteville, Arkansas 72701.
Steve Voorhies, manager of media relations
A grant from Walton Family Charitable Support Foundation will support research and economic development through scholarship, innovation.
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