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Director, Conferences & Meetings


Director of Conferences & Meetings

JOPLIN, MO (SNS) -Rod E. Surber became Director of Conferences & Meetings in July 2016.

He previously served the university as Director of Account Development from October 2013 through June 2016. In his 26 years of service to the University, he also has served as Director of Web Content 2012-2013; Director of University Relations & Marketing, 1999-2012; and News Bureau Director 1991-1999.

He earned the status as Accredited in Public Relations (APR) in the spring of 1999 through the Public Relations Society of America. Select this link to view curriculum vitae (pdf).

He earned a Master of Science in Administrative Studies (emphasis in Communication) degree from Missouri State University in 2004. He completed his graduate work with a perfect 4.0 GPA. He is a 1981 graduate of Iowa State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Journalism and Mass Communications and secondary education teaching certification. While an undergraduate student at Iowa State, he was president of the campus chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists and led the chapter to a national "Outstanding Campus Chapter Award". He also earned an award for editorial writing from the Illinois Press Association while managing editor of the Rochelle (IL) News-Leader.

Prior to entering public relations in higher education, Mr. Surber was managing editor of two community newspapers, one in Chariton, Iowa, for seven years, and the second in Rochelle, Illinois, for three and a half years.

At Missouri Southern he became Webmaster and produced the University's first Gopher and World-Wide Web pages. In collaboration with faculty and staff, he since has developed many Web sites for the University. He has conducted workshops for faculty and staff and has conducted consulting for businesses. He is involved with the District VI Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) and is a member of the International Section of the PRSA. He has studied German, French and Spanish at Missouri Southern and is a member of Phi Sigma Iota International Modern Language Honor Society. He conducted an independent study project for a German course that was titled "German influence in Namibia." He has traveled to Europe (France, Germany and Great Britain) and to Canada and Mexico.

He is a founding member of the Southwest Missouri Public Relations Society of America chapter and was President in 2007.

He also served as President of the Joplin Area Advertising Federation, and has been a member of the Lions Club in communities where he has lived. He also was a member of the Joplin Kiwanis Club. For about eight years he was a Certified Missouri State High School Activities Association basketball official. He has served as Secretary/Treasurer for the Webb City, Oronogo and Carterville Center Creek 201 Board since 1993. He has served as a member of the Board of Deacons at Frisco Church in Webb City, Mo., and is involved in other civic organizations. He and his wife, Rae, are the parents of two grown children, Austin and Ashley, and six grandchildren.

Accreditation Awarded


PRSA logo The Universal Accreditation Program, managed by the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), has awarded Accreditation to Rod Surber, Director of Public Information at Missouri Southern State University. The Universal Accreditation Program seeks to improve the practice of public relations by awarding the designation Accredited in Public Relations (APR) to public relations professionals who successfully complete an examination that measures knowledge, experience and professional judgement. Accreditation examinations are administered twice yearly throughout the nation. During this test cycle 144 candidates nationally passed the day long written and oral exam. Rod Surber is a 2004 graduate of Missouri State University (Master of Science in Administrative Studies), a 1981 graduate of Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa, (Bachelor of Science in Journalism and Mass Communication) and a 1974 graduate of Indianola High School in Indianola, Iowa.

"The APR designation is considered the hallmark of professionalism within the public relations industry," said Christine Gronkiewicz, APR, chair of the Universal Accreditation Board, and Director of Media Relations Strategy for Ameritech Corporation. "Practitioners who achieve this credential demonstrate a commitment to their companies, their clients and their profession."

Universal Accreditation is a voluntary certification program for public relations professionals who have at least five years of paid, full-time experience in the professional practice of public relations, or in the teaching or administration of public relations courses in an accredited college or university. The Universal Accreditation program was formed January 1, 1998 and has grown to include eight public relations organizations, representing over 6,000 Accredited public relations professionals. The examination is administered by the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), which operated its own Accreditation program beginning in 1964.