Faculty Spotlight
John Forde

By: Caitlin Doyle, PR student intern

John Forde Headshot

Dr. John Forde was born in Laurel, Miss., grew up in Omak, Wash., and has been a member of MSU’s Department of Communication faculty since 1987. Forde received an associate of arts from Jones County Junior College, a bachelor’s degree in communication with a concentration in public relations from MSU, a master's in public relations with a minor in marketing from the University of Southern Mississippi, and a doctorate in communication with a minor in educational administration from the USM.

As part of the MSU Communication/Public Relations faculty, Forde currently teaches Principles of Public Relations, Public Relations Case Problems, and the Certificate in Public Relations course. He has also previously taught Public Relations in Organizations, Research in Public Relations and Advertising, Public Relations Copy and Layout, Internship in Communication, and Freshman Year Experience. He says his favorite part of his job is helping students pursue opportunities and getting to see them be successful while in school and also as alumni. He also enjoys advising alumni who consider him a mentor.

At the end of the spring 2024 semester, Forde will retire after 37 years serving our departmentForde Retirement Invitation and students. The university community will celebrate John with a retirement celebration on Friday, April 26 from 2 to 4 p.m. in The John Grisham Room of the MSU Mitchell Memorial Library. We would love for you to join us in celebrating Dr. Forde. He would love to see as many former students and friends as possible.

Favorite memory in the Department of Communication?
It's really hard to choose just one favorite memory, but a very special memory was a reception held for me in September 2019 after I had stepped down as department head. A special scholarship, the Dr. John Forde Communication Fund for Excellence, was created by the Arledge family and announced at this reception. John Arledge and his two children, John Nix and Addison, are alumni of our department, and I enjoyed teaching and advising each of them. It was such a joy to spend time at the reception with family members, students, faculty, staff, and alumni. Having a scholarship at MSU in the Department of Communication is a great honor.

Best advice for communication students?
Network as much as possible, complete multiple internships, do well in all of your classes, get to know your professors, and in general let people help you. I'd also strongly recommend either getting in shape or staying in shape. It's much easier when you're young!

If you didn’t work in communication, what could you see yourself doing?
If not teaching, I would most likely be working in public relations or a related field. In recent years, I especially have enjoyed working with organizations through focus groups and related research to help them improve. 

Favorite part of working in the communication field?
I enjoy the diversity of people you meet in communication and related fields. Many of the most successful aspects of my career and for my students have been through the partnerships I’ve had the opportunity to form through professional associations, the Universal Accreditation Board, advisory boards, and media organizations. Often these close friendships over the years have resulted in jobs and internships for our students and alumni.

Any funny stories from McComas?
There are so many. This may not sound funny, but years ago we had some flooding issues where I was trying to stop water from coming into the building and not being very successful (with water flowing out of the walls in the basement). I had to laugh to not be upset!

If you could only watch one film for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?
I definitely would say "Field of Dreams" is my favorite movie. It includes baseball (of course), family interactions and other important relationships, pursuits related to a higher calling, and some magical elements. 

How do you spend your free time?
We try to visit with family as much as possible. I do enjoy playing golf and am working to improve in the very challenging game. I enjoy watching some Netflix and Hallmark movies with Connie as well.

Do you have any human or furry children?
We have two grown sons who are both married, and we have four grandchildren (three granddaughters and one grandson). We love to spend time with them.

What is your favorite location you have ever traveled to and why?
Overall, I love almost any beach, especially on the Gulf Coast.

Describe any research you are currently working on.
I recently worked with a national team on research related to Accreditation in Public Relations, the Public Relations Society of America College of Fellows, and the Certificate in Principles of Public Relations. These are very important programs that more people still need to learn about and support.