Scott Widmeyer (‘74 BSJ)
Scott Widmeyer, a native of Martinsburg, W.Va., fondly recalls his days as a reporter and editor for The Daily Athenaeum – West Virginia University’s student newspaper. It was the skills and lessons learned during his time at the university that helped him launch a successful career in communications.
From working as a newspaper reporter in the 1970s to running major media operations for national campaigns, Mr. Widmeyer is highly respected in the public relations field. His track record of successes in education, health care, politics, campaign finance, technology, trade and other public policy matters illustrate his impact as a “change agent” in things that matter most to America.
In 1988, Mr. Widmeyer founded Widmeyer Communications. The firm, with offices in Washington and New York, has a client base which includes Nestle, Pfizer, the College Board, Pearson Education, Coca Cola, the Association of American Publishers, the U.S. Climate Action Partnership, among others, where Widmeyer provides strategic counsel on the top issues of the 21st century.
During his 30-year career, Mr. Widmeyer has advised scores of decision-makers, from presidents to governors to chief executive officers to union leaders, including former President Jimmy Carter, former Vice President Walter Mondale, U.S. Senator Jay Rockefeller, former Congresswoman Geraldine Ferraro and the late Albert Shanker. In addition to his professional accomplishments, Mr. Widmeyer is active in a number of civic and philanthropic causes from his base in New York and Washington. In 2007, he was named a David Rockefeller Fellow, a highly coveted one-year program of the New York City Partnership. He also was the longest-serving board chair of the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, as well as serving on the board of GLAAD.
His current board memberships include the New York City Leadership Academy, the Education Writers Association (advisory board), Bizbash and Council for Unity. He also is active in the Council of Public Relations Firms, Public Relations Organisation International, Friends of the High Line, the National Press Club, the Appalachian Community Fund, St. Gregory’s Church, and PENCIL. Mr. Widmeyer, a 1974 graduate of WVU’s School of Journalism, remains dedicated to his alma mater. He established two scholarship funds to benefit both African-American and first-generation West Virginians seeking degrees in journalism.
To date, more than 30 students have benefited from these scholarships, and in 2007, Widmeyer family and Widmeyer Communications endowed the Widmeyer Communications Professorship in Public Relations, the first of its kind in the nation. He has served as a visiting professor at the P.I. Reed School of Journalism and has been a guest lecturer at Brown University, the University of Maryland and Johns Hopkins University. Continuing his commitment to his alma mater, Widmeyer chairs the Advisory Committee for the School of Journalism. In 2003, he received WVU’s most prestigious award in journalism – The Perley Isaac Reed Achievement Award.
In 2005, Mr. Widmeyer received the “Distinguished West Virginian Award,” the highest honor provided by the chief executive of the state, in recognition of his outstanding achievements and meritorious service to his home state of West Virginia.