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Charles R. Byrd PRSSA
Tower Communications

About Us

The Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) is a pre-professional organization for college students interested in public relations and integrated communications. PRSSA connects you with Faculty members, PR Practitioners and other students with similar interests.

Charles R. Byrd Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America has been a staple of public relations innovation at WVSU since 1991. The WVPRSA 2016 Chapter of the Year exemplifies our active involvement in the field and in our local community. In their 30-year history we have attended countless PRSSA National Conferences (New York City, Atlanta, Philly, San Francisco, Boston, Auston, etc.). Members of WVSU PRSSA have held National PRSSA Board positions, led seminars at the National Conventions and won numerous WVPRSA Diamond and Crystal Awards. 


Charles R. Byrd

The WVSU PRSSA named its Chapter after Dr. Charles Robert Byrd during the annual Communication Day Ceremony held April 27, 2007, in the Wilson Union. Dr. Byrd initiated the Communications Department at West Virginia State University (then College) during his tenure.  He joined the faculty on January 3, 1941 and remained until his retirement in 1987. His widow, Dr. Charlene Byrd accepted flowers and a plaque depicting the new name: Charles R. Byrd Chapter of the PRSSA at West Virginia State University.  

Dr. Charlene Byrd recalled her husband having developed the program which led to the present television facility and recalled with fondness his having bought the first 16mm projectors and overhead projectors. He was also responsible for operating the public address system. Because he was the public address announcer for all football, basketball, and other athletic games and contests, he became affectionately known as the “Voice of the Yellow Jackets.” His technology responsibilities also included showing the weekly motion pictures in the “A Building” and playing recorded chimes on Sundays to signal the required attendance of all students at evening chapel services. 

Dr. Charles R. Byrd received his Bachelor of Science degree from Hampton University, an MA in Higher Education from New York University, and the Ed.D. from Syracuse University with a major in Higher Education in Communication and Technology.                      


PRSSA Adviser

Dr. Ali Ziyati
Dr. Ali Ziyati earned his Ph.D. in Mass Communication (Ohio University) in 1995, Master of Arts in Telecommunications (Ohio University) in 1992, and Bachelor of Arts in Journalism (Institut Superieur de journalisme, Rabat, Morocco) in 1987. He is currently Professor in the department of Communication and Media Studies at West Virginia State University where he teaches Public Relations, Social Media, Integrated Marketing Communication, Research Methods, etc. Prior to joining WVSU in the Fall of 2011, Dr. Z. was Associate Professor at Marietta College, Marietta, OH (2007-2011). He also served as Dean of the Faculty of Mass Communication and Public Relations at Ajman University in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). He has held teaching positions at the Institut Superieur de l’Information et de la Communication (ISIC), the International Institute of Higher Education in Morocco (IIHEM) and the Institute of Languages and Communication Studies (ILCS) in Rabat, Morocco. He also served as an adjunct faculty member at Ohio University where he taught Public Speaking, Introduction to Mass Communication, Research Methods, and Intercultural Communication. He was a visiting professor at Lock Haven (PA). Dr. Z was Director of International Student Programs at WVSU. ​He is a certified soccer coach and loves to play as mid-fielder. 

Our Clients

  •   The American Rosie Movement
  •   Sissonville Volunteer Fire Department 
  •   ChildLaw Services
  •   ​Face Love Charleston
  •   WVACO (West Virginia Association of Counties)
  •   WVSU Box 5 Theater
  •   Message Envy Spa Franchise at Shops on Kanawha Plaza
  •   Nepal Fundraiser
  •   The Kanawha Kordsmen
  •   Charleston-Banska Bystrica Sister City Alliance
  •   Mocombeian Foundation Golf Classic to benefit Haitian  scholarships
  •   Tuskegee Airmen website launch for  WVSU's History & Culture Committee
  •   WV State Community and Technical College’s  “Growing Home” Tourism Symposium
  •   Islamic Association of WV’s Capitol Complex Film
  •   WV Office of Emergency Services
  •   West Virginia State University 

Tower Projects 

The Diane Slaughter Public Relations Research Laboratory 
The lab has a traditional classroom space, a client/team meeting space (portal), a computer lab area with a printer as well as a flat-screen TV monitor, classroom tables and chairs to seat 30 or more and a computer for faculty use.

Observation Portal 
The Portal provides a comfortable environment for two - four researchers observing focus group interaction.  It houses the monitoring unit to the multidirectional microphone, a MAC computer and digital camera.  Lab is available for rental to public relations, marketing, and communication firms, organizations, as well as profit and non-profit businesses.​

West Virginia Midland Trail
Developed for Department of Transportations Scenic By-Ways Program denoting African American Historical sites along the Midland Trail (HWY 60) . 

Tuskegee Airmen
Developed for WVSU Culture & History Committee with lesson plans for public school children.

South African Hand Crafted Glass Beaded Jewelry
In September 2007, the Charles R. Byrd Chapter at WVSU began selling handcrafted jewelry from South Africa as part of our fundraising efforts. The beautiful glass-beaded jewelry is a traditional craft among the Xhosa people of South Africa. (President Nelson Mandela is the most well known Xhosa.)  The jewelry displayed here is fashioned in our University colors of black and gold. When you purchase one of our items you support both our PRSSA development and scholarship efforts as well as entrepreneurs in South Africa.

"37 Fallen"
The documentary film, "37 Fallen," by GRIMM-TYLER PRODUCTIONS, commemorates the true stories of 37 West Virginia  veterans who were lost in the Iraq and Afghanistan war. 



WV_PRSA 2018 Educator of the Year
Prof. Joe Long
WV-PRSA 2017 Educator of the Year
Dr. Ali Ziyati
WV-PRSA 2014 Educator of the Year
Dr. Tee Ford-Ahmed
PRSSA National Conferences
... Philly (2013), Washington, D.C. (2014), Atlanta (2015), Indianapolis (2016), Boston (2017), Austin (2018), and more to come. 
Professionals and Guest Speakers

The Diane Slaughter Public Relations Research Laboratory 

The Diane Slaughter Public Relations Research Laboratory is conveniently located on the campus of West Virginia State University at Cole Complex. The Laboratory is named in honor of Charles R. Byrd PRSSA’s professional adviser and Executive Director of West Virginia PRSA, Diane Slaughter. 
The lab is one of only two fully equipped focus group facilities in the state. The facility has many features including HD Audio/Visual inputs and outputs, two-way mirror, speaker, audio, recording equipment, 50-inch HD TV, iMac and free parking.  The facility is conveniently located in the Charleston-Huntington metro area, and is only a 20-minute drive from Charleston’s Yeager Airport.      ​
About Diane Slaughter
Diane Slaughter, CAE, APR, Fellow PRSA is the owner of Homestead Communications, a national association management and public relations firm she opened in February of 1993.  She began her association management/public relations career a decade before that with the West Virginia Society of Certified Public Accountants.  Prior to that, she worked four years as assistant advertising director at The Diamond Department Store, based in Charleston.  She earned her APR designation (Accredited in Public Relations) from PRSA in 1989 (while she was serving as president of PRSA's West Virginia Chapter), then was elected to PRSA's College of Fellows in 2006.  She earned her CAE certification (Certified Association Executive) in 2002 through the American Society of Association Executives.  She has been involved with pulic relations students at WVSU since 1993, when she was an adjunct faculty member for a semester.  She has been the C.R. Byrd Chapter of PRSSA faculty advisor of record since then.

Contact Us

Communication is the Key
We strive to stay in communication with our clients. Have a question about our business, or want to see if we match your specific needs? Send us a message, ( or give us a call at 304-204-4012. We're always happy to assist.

Contact Information:

Ali Ziyati, Ph.D.
Office:   304-204-4012

212 Cole Complex
Department of Communications & Media Studies
West Virginia State University
Institute, WV 25112

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