Retirement Announcement of Dr. Henry Givens Jr.









In April 2011, Dr. Henry Givens Jr, president of Harris-Stowe State announced his retirement from the University after serving in the role for more than 32 years. During his tenure, the University increased its number of degree programs for one to 14, grew from one building to eight, and positively influenced and touched tens of thousands of lives in the community.

In addition to his service to Harris-Stowe, Dr. Givens had been a prominent leader in the St. Louis region and beyond. He served on numerous corporate boards and was also the founding chairman of the Dr. Martin Luther King Statewide Celebration Commission for Missouri, a position he held for more than 25 years. He was also appointed by President Obama to serve on the HBCU Capital Finance Program Advisory Board.

Major news and educational reporters in the St. Louis area including both broadcast and print.


  • Make the St. Louis community aware of the retirement of one of its greatest long-term leaders.
  • Communicate the positive influence Dr. Givens had on the St. Louis community and on Harris-Stowe State University over the course of his 32-year career.
  • Tell the story of the positive growth the University had experienced over the course of the past 15 years to showcase its expanded new campus, its state-of-the-art buildings and its expanded program offerings to attract new students, as well as build a solid foundation for future development efforts.

Dr. Givens chose to announce the news of his retirement through a press conference held the morning of April 11, 2011. As Harris-Stowe’s outside PR counsel, Schumacher Creative was responsible for developing the press materials for the event, pitching the story to the media, assisting the media at the press conference, and working with the media to ensure the story of Dr. Givens’ retirement and his career accomplishments were portrayed accurately and fair. Due to the client’s desire to keep the announcement a secret prior to the press conference, all of these activities needed to take place within a 24-hour period.

Materials for the press conference, including a media alert, press release, school fact sheet, and career highlights document for were quickly written. The media alert was sent to outlets within the St. Louis area notifying them of the historic announcement less than 24-hours prior to the event. Media packets were prepared and follow-up phone calls were also made to ensure each of the media, who had been identified as being key, knew the significance of the event and were urged to attend.


  • The retirement announcement generated media placements on all of the area’s major broadcast outlets, including KSDK, KMOV, KTVI, KPLR, KMOX, KTRS and KETC. Total broadcast audience impressions for the event were 777,469 with a publicity value of $35,195.96.
  • Dr. Givens was featured on the front page of the April 13, 2011 edition of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The profile outlined his accomplishments as president of the University, as well as his future plans.
  • Dr. Givens, his accomplishments, community service and future plans were profiled extensively in the St. Louis American.
  • Dr. Givens was highlighted in a whimsical cartoon posed with the Weather Bird and the message “Good Luck Henry,” in the city’s major daily newspaper, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on April 13, 2011.
  • Dr. Givens was feature on the front page of the Webster-Kirkwood Times and the West End Word.
  • The press coverage received regarding Dr. Given’s retirement provided a solid foundation on which to create a community event to honor Dr. Givens. “A Celebration to Honor Dr. Henry Givens” was held on November 4, 2011 at The Chase Park Plaza. More than 250 people were in attendance to wish Dr. Givens and his wife, Belma, a retirement filled with good health and happiness, as well as to raise money for the scholarship in his name. The highlight of the evening was the presentation of a check to Dr. Givens in the amount of $195,000, the net proceeds of the event that will be used to name a permanent scholarship in his honor.