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The Department of Communication has chosen Alan (Skip) Branch as this year's Parry D. Sorensen Distinguished Lecturer. The lectureship, celebrating the important role professional communicators play in the education of University of Utah Communication students, includes teaching a class to Communication undergraduates this fall and speaking at the annual Town and Gown Forum on November 11 at the Little America Hotel. Branch's semester-long class is titled Persuade Me? An Analysis of the Role of Persuasive Messages in Strategic Communication and will highlight the myriad types of persuasion in everyday life.
Skip Branch was most recently a partner at Riester, an integrated marketing and communication firm in Salt Lake City, Los Angeles, and Phoenix. He graduated from the University of Utah with a B.A. in English and has since acquired 45 years of professional experience in advertising and public relations. Branch began his career selling advertising for ABC Radio in Los Angeles, locally at KUTV, and then moved to co-owning an advertising agency for 15 years. In 1989, his career path took a major turn when he joined the ad agency Harris & Love, which later became Riester, LLC. During his many years as a partner at Riester,
Branch served as executive vice president and manager of the Salt Lake office, on the executive management team, and as a new business director, among other titles.
Branch's work has been recognized with awards by the American Advertising Federation of Utah, University of Utah Press, and Westminster College. He has served as chair of the Utah Arts Festival, president of Planned Parenthood of Utah, chair of Planned Parenthood's National Affiliate President's Council, and as a citizenship instructor at ESL Center of Utah.
Drawing from his extensive experience as an advertising and PR professional, Branch's fall semester Communication class, Persuade Me? An Analysis of the Role of Persuasive Messages in Strategic Communication, will highlight the ever-present concept of persuasion in daily life. He will draw from an integrated blend of theoretical principles, strategic communication case studies, and guest speakers with expertise in a vast array of persuasive topics. Notably, guest lecturers to the class will present on themes ranging from politics and religion to magic, law, fashion, and used car sales–all of which fit within the realm of persuasion in fascinating ways.
The Lectureship and the annual Town and Gown Forum held at 7 p.m. November 11, 2014, at Little America Hotel's Idaho Ballroom, were created to honor the distinguished career of the late Communication Professor Emeritus Parry D. Sorensen who created countless professional internships to ensure that experience in the professional workplace is an integral part of the University of Utah students' education.

Last Updated: 9/20/21