Barbara Sayre Casey, a 1959 journalism graduate, received one of the highest honors awarded to West Virginia University graduates when she was inducted into the WVU Academy of Distinguished Alumni on May 17.
Casey has distinguished herself as a leader in public relations, branding and professional advancement for women. While a journalism student at West Virginia University, Casey was also a reporter for the Parkersburg News and a contributor at a local radio station before moving to Los Angeles to pursue what would become a lifelong journey in public relations.
“Barbara is incredibly deserving of this honor,” said Maryanne Reed, dean of the WVU Reed College of Media. “She has not only evolved with the PR discipline but has led the way. Her effective leadership and innovative spirit was evident when she was a student in the “J-School” and has been a driving force in her career ever since.”
As a student in the Perley Isaac Reed School of Journalism, Casey was inducted into three prestigious honor societies – Helvetia, Chimes and Mortar Board – served as president of the YWCA, vice president of Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority, wrote for the Daily Athenaeum and was active in Women in Communications.
Casey launched her career with Kaufman & Broad, Inc., now KB Homes, and became a vice president of the NYSE-listed company responsible for all communications. She was the first woman to serve as vice president for KB Homes and the first among leading homebuilding firms throughout the country, pioneering opportunities for women in an industry that has been previously led mostly by men.
Well known for strengthening national and international brands such as Korn/Ferry International, Latham & Watkins, the Grove, the Conrad Hilton Foundation and AT&T, Casey taught investor relations at the University of Southern California and has served as Vice President of the National Investor Relations Institute.
Deeply engaged in civic and philanthropic involvements, Casey sits on numerous boards and committees including the Trusteeship International Women’s Forum, Vital Voices Southern California, the National Wildlife Art Museum and LA World Affairs Council. In addition, Casey served for a number of years on the Board of Regents of Loyola Marymount University and was a founding member of the Women’s Leadership Board at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.
The Academy of Distinguished Alumni honors WVU graduates who have attained national or international distinction in their profession or discipline. Since 1988, this prestigious award has been bestowed on nearly 100 WVU alumni. In addition to Casey, 2019 inductees included Nancy Davenport, Fred Tattersall, and Dr. Richard W. Thomas.
Inductees are nominated by the general membership of the Alumni Association or their respective schools or colleges and information on the honorees is permanently displayed in the WVU Erickson Alumni Center.