To celebrate the five-year anniversary of naming the Stan Richards School of Advertising & Public Relations, the school will add a student advertising and public relations workspace to the Belo Media Center’s fourth floor.
Construction on the agency, called The Lab, will begin this summer and will be completed in January 2021, according to a press release. Every student who graduates with an advertising or public relations degree must complete a capstone project in The Lab within their field of study, according to the release. The Lab was funded by Stan Richards, who contributed to a $10 million fundraising campaign in 2014 that funds the school that now bears his name, according to an older press release.
“It is a great pleasure for me to be a part of this,” Richards said. “Being around the kids who are the future — there is this excitement and this energy that you all generate that is not available in any other place, at any other time and at any other school.”
Joanna Sciarrino, school of advertising and public relations director and chair, said Richards collaborated with her on The Lab starting in early 2018 to give
public relations and advertising students more experience. Students in The Lab will complete work for clients, Sciarrino said.
Sciarrino said the student agency will have a collaborative working space with open seating and floor-to-ceiling glass windows. Richards said The Lab will purposely reflect the look of the Richards Group’s office, a Dallas-based advertising and public relations agency owned by Richards.
Meredith Macnoll, marketing and advertising junior, said Richards lectured during her freshman advertising class.
“He’s really talented, so the fact that he took time out of his schedule for us meant a lot to us,” Macnoll said. “I’m from Dallas, The Richards Group is in Dallas, and I’m excited because I feel like (the announcement) is really going to change the trajectory of everyone’s education in Belo for the better.”
Sciarrino said while other schools have student agencies, none have made it part of their required curriculum.
“This agency will have the opportunity to give students that experience of what is a creative agency,” Sciarrino said. “We are a number one school, and we have to keep evolving. We have to keep doing things that make our students be more competitive and better in the market than any other advertising and public relations school in the country.”