2010: Aaron D. Cushman

2010 Pub­lic­ity Club of Chicago Life­time Achieve­ment Honoree:

Aaron D. Cushman


Aaron D. Cush­man spent five decades in the field of pub­lic rela­tions and was active chair­man and CEO of the agency that he estab­lished in 1952 (Aaron D. Cush­man and Asso­ciates, Inc.) until he retired in 1997.

A jour­nal­ism grad­u­ate of the Uni­ver­sity of Illi­nois, Cush­man entered pub­lic rela­tions dur­ing the industry’s early years as a pub­li­cist in show busi­ness and pro­moted such enter­tain­ers as the Three Stooges, Jane Rus­sell, Sammy Davis Jr., Dean Mar­tin and Jerry Lewis, among others.

Cush­man returned to Chicago after serv­ing in the mil­i­tary to build Aaron D. Cush­man and Asso­ciates and guided its growth into one of the nation’s largest and most pres­ti­gious inde­pen­dent PR firms. The agency ranked in the Top 10 with offices in New York, Los Ange­les and St. Louis and served a diverse clien­tele – from Serta, Kee­bler Cookie Com­pany, May­tag Mar­riott Hotels, 7-UP, and Mar­vin Glass & Asso­ciates, to Chrysler, Motorola, Warner-Lambert, Cen­tury 21, Ral­ston Purina and Con Agra. The Agency also rep­re­sented for­eign gov­ern­ments, includ­ing Mex­ico, Canada, Swe­den, South Korea, Sin­ga­pore and the Cay­man Islands.

He became pres­i­dent of Cushman-Veeck Pub­lic Rela­tions in 1959 in con­junc­tion with Bill Veeck, pres­i­dent of the Chicago White Sox. In 1975, he became a partner-owner of the ball club. Dur­ing his 11-year tenure, Cush­man helped Veeck insti­tute inven­tive sports mar­ket­ing pro­grams which also led him to pro­duce 12 World Cham­pi­onship Ten­nis Tournaments.

Aaron D. Cush­man and Asso­ciates, Inc. received numer­ous awards includ­ing 50 Golden Trum­pets from the Pub­lic­ity Club of Chicago (PCC), sev­eral Sil­ver Anvils from the Pub­lic Rela­tions Soci­ety of Amer­ica (PRSA), and over 40 Awards from the Inter­na­tional Asso­ci­a­tion of Busi­ness Com­mu­ni­ca­tors. Cush­man him­self has been rec­og­nized with sev­eral hon­ors for his life­time achieve­ments, indus­try pio­neer­ing career and lead­er­ship, includ­ing the Life­time Achieve­ment Award from PCC, a national PRSA Gold Anvil nom­i­na­tion, and the high­est hon­ors from sev­eral regional PRSA chapters.

Cush­man has served in numer­ous capac­i­ties includ­ing pres­i­dent of the PCC, pres­i­dent of the Coun­selors Acad­emy of the Chicago Chap­ter of PRSA, mem­ber of the PRSA Coun­selors Acad­emy National Exec­u­tive Com­mit­tee, world­wide pres­i­dent of Pub­lic Rela­tions Organ­i­sa­tion Inter­na­tional and was elected to the PRSA Col­lege of Fel­lows. Cush­man holds an APR and in 1996, was named Mar­ket­ing and Pub­lic Rela­tions “Man of the Year” by the Inter­na­tional Hos­pi­tal­ity Mar­ket­ing Association.

Cush­man authored, A Pas­sion For Win­ning: Fifty Years of Pro­mot­ing Leg­endary Peo­ple and Prod­ucts (2004), where he reveals how his inno­va­tion and integrity influ­enced a pro­fes­sion in its infancy. He con­tin­ues to inspire oth­ers and shape the PR pro­fes­sion by author­ing and speak­ing at engage­ments, as well as serv­ing as a mem­ber of the National Advi­sory Board for the Uni­ver­sity of Illi­nois’ Col­lege of Media.

Cush­man has been mar­ried to his lovely wife, Doris, for 65 years and has three chil­dren, 10 grand­chil­dren and 3 great-grandchildren.