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The owners of RIESTER, one of the region’s leading advertising and digital marketing firms, today made a six-figure gift to support students and programs at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.
Tim and Mirja Riester, principals of the Phoenix-based firm, have pledged their multi-year gift to establish an endowed scholarship for students as well as support the school’s Public Relations Lab, a full-service strategic communications agency in which students develop campaigns and strategies for clients that range from Fortune 500 companies to startups and nonprofits.
“The integrity of journalism and journalists is being questioned today in the United States from leaders at the highest levels of government and business,” said Tim Riester who also serves as CEO of RIESTER. “Having ASU’s Cronkite School, with its superior reputation and history of high teaching standards to train our nation’s future reporters and communicators, is arguably more important than ever before in modern history.”
The RIESTER Public Relations Endowed Scholarship will annually support students enrolled in the PR Lab at the Cronkite School. The gift comes on Sun Devil Giving Day, ASU’s annual celebration of philanthropy.
The gift also will name PR Lab’s conference room, where students and faculty meet with clients and develop their campaigns.
Additionally, the gift will provide support for Native American students interested in attending the Summer Journalism Institute, which brings top-performing high school students from underrepresented communities to the Cronkite School to receive hands-on experiences in broadcast and digital journalism.
“Motivating and supporting young adults from underrepresented populations to pursue careers in journalism is vital to ensure culturally sensitive and relevant news coverage in the future,” said Mirja Riester, who also serves as chief strategic officer of RIESTER.
Cronkite School Dean Christopher Callahan said the support comes at a critical time as the field of strategic communications continues to grow. He said RIESTER’s generous gift will help students launch their careers at the Cronkite School.
“This generous gift from Tim and Mirja will help us continue to grow and advance our efforts in providing a world-class education to our students,” Callahan said. “We sincerely appreciate their support and commitment to the future of our profession. We are looking forward to the dedication of the RIESTER PR Lab Conference Room.”
Founded in 1989, RIESTER has been successfully creating and revitalizing brands, launching products, changing consumer behaviors, and motivating people to care about issues that matter.
Tim Riester leads the firm as CEO. Under his leadership, RIESTER was listed on the Inc. 500 list of fastest growing companies in America for four consecutive years. Advertising Age listed the firm among the “20 Agencies to Watch in America.” And Forbes named RIESTER among the “Top 100 Global Ad Agencies That Know Social Media and Google.” He is a member of the Cronkite Endowment Board of Trustees, composed of top media leaders who advise the school on a wide array of issues.
Mirja Riester supervises research, strategic planning and manages the integration of all services within RIESTER. She established the European method of brand planning and strategy at RIESTER when she joined the firm in 1997 and has successfully launched new products, built brands and provided strategic marketing consulting for clients, including the National Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Berkshire Hathaway Energy, Gilead Sciences and MidFirst Bank.