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Service Award: Howard Geltzer (J58, GJ59)

"At virtually every awards ceremony, the recipient thanks people who helped them along the way. I would like to recognize someone who not only did not help me but was a devastating obstacle."

Howard Geltzer is speaking of the Hazleton High School baseball coach who dashed his hope of playing on the school team. Luckily, Geltzer has never yielded to challenges very easily. Searching for a way to stay involved with the sport, he decided to cover athletics for the school paper, and by sophomore year he was covering sports at the town newspaper.

Uncovering his enthusiasm for journalism didn't put an end to the obstacles, of course, but it has certainly given Geltzer the direction needed to steer through them. After graduating from the Medill School of Journalism, Geltzer moved to General Electric. He then helped launch Family Health magazine, and in 1974 he and his wife Sheila started their own business, Geltzer and Company, which would grow into a prominent public relations agency.

An active member of the Medill Board of Advisers since 1999 and of the Medill New York Club, he has shown great commitment to maintaining community among journalism alumni and friends. He has helped find hard-to-book venues, such as Manhattan's University Club, for Medill's board meetings and for Medill magazine's 25th anniversary celebration—he has even offered up his own New York home for several events. As a participant on the Board of Advisors Public Relations Committee, he worked with several major media outlets to promote Northwestern's National High School Institute's acclaimed Cherub program. In his role on the board's fundraising committee, he helped establish the Medill Medal for Courage in Journalism, given for moral, ethical, or physical courage in the pursuit of a story.

Geltzer has also worked to enrich the education of current Medill students. "Education—preparing young people to succeed in the business world—is a high priority," he says. To that end, he has lectured in the Integrated Marketing Communications program, and he arranged the well-attended visit of Publicis CEO Maurice Levy to Medill. He is an adjunct faculty member at New York University's School of Continuing and Professional Studies, and he recently joined the university's Stern School of Business.

As a counselor at the SCORE unit of the Small Business Administration, a government agency that supports small ventures, Geltzer provides advice and support to hopeful entrepreneurs, primarily women and minorities.

Geltzer and Sheila are parents of Jeremy Gelzer (C91) and Gabriel and grandparents of Jackson, whom they predict will be a 2027 graduate of the University.

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