Parsons joined the Elon University administration 13 years ago as the founding dean of the School of Communications.
Paul Parsons, who came to Elon in 2001 as founding dean of the School of Communications, on Sept. 1, 2014, became the nation’s longest-serving dean of a single communications school or journalism college.
This came about with the Aug. 31 retirement of Dean Mills, who served 25 years as dean of the School of Journalism at the University of Missouri, and the July retirement of Doug Anderson, who served 15 years as dean of the College of Communications at Penn State.
“I don’t feel that ancient,” Parsons quipped. “I guess the calendars turn quickly when you are so fulfilled by what you do.”
In the United States, 64 institutions have a journalism or communications dean, with hundreds more having a director or chair of a communications school or department. Two other deans in the discipline, at Ole Miss and Ball State, have longer overall tenures that are spread across more than one institution.