A Hollywood insider, a Pulitzer Prize winner and a baseball fan who turned his passion into a career helped to bring excitement and life lessons to hundreds of Cal Poly Pomona students Thursday.
The trio -- photographer Barbara Davidson, talent agent and USC professor Danny Sussman and Tim Mead, vice president of communications for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim -- were the speakers to take part in the annual Com Day at the university. Organized by the public relations and journalism programs, the event officially featured four keynote speakers and a variety of other journalism and public relations professionals.
“It’s just very important in the industry to know how to put an event on,” said Stacy Shaw, student event vice chair. “A lot of us, especially in PR, have to promote events or products. You need the skills to pull that off.”
Each student applied to handle different areas of the event. Each was chosen for their role based on their skill set, she said.
The event is held every spring quarter. And this year’s theme was Join the Webolution.
It was open to students, faculty and the public. It was students who put together the elaborate event, which included panel discussions. They arranged for Pulitzer Prize honoree, Los Angeles Times photographer Barbara Davidson, to have what she needed for a multimedia presentation of her award-winning series “Caught in the Crossfire.”
“We really wanted to try and hit every aspect of communications -- from the journalism, photo journalism to the public relations aspect to somebody like Julie (Powell), who started out as a blogger and ended up having a movie (“Julie and Julia”) made after her. It’s pretty amazing,” said Ryan Whittington, a student and member of the Programs and Speaker Committee.
“We really tried to hit every aspect to make sure every student really got what they wanted to see and got to see the professionals they would one day want to be.”
Keynote speaker Danny Sussman has a client list that includes Noah Wylie, Jimmy Smits and Chloe Sevigny and didn’t need a podium to address more than 150 students who filled a conference room at Cal Poly Pomona’s Bronco Student Center.
Sussman walked the room, shook hands and introduced himself.
His lesson to the students was, in a world so accustomed to communicating with someone within seconds, “don’t forget to stop and shake a hand,” he said.