Betsy Plank is the honoree of the Plank Center for Leadership in Public Relations that was established in 2005 at the University of Alabama. It was named for her distinguished career in corporate and agency public relations. In 2000, Plank received the Distinguished Lifetime Achievement Award from the Arthur W. Page Society. Plank also assisted in the founding PRSA’s College of Fellows, an honorary group of national leaders in public relations.
Plank was the first woman to preside over the Public Relations Society of America in 1973. She was also the first woman to be the head of a division of Illinois Bell, which is now Ameritech. In 1963, Plank was elected as the first woman president of the Publicity Club of Chicago. She was the first winner of PRSA’s highest awards: the Gold Anvil, for being the nation’s outstanding professional, the Lund Award for civic and community service, and the Jackson Award for distinguished service to the society. The Public Relations Student Society of America has named its annual scholarships after her to recognize her support in the public relations field. Plank graduated from the University of Alabama in 1944 with a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in history and political science. She was elected to the University of Alabama Communication Hall of Fame in 2000.