An Open Letter to My Georgetown Family

I debated what to call this post because it is an “open letter,” but calling it a letter to my “former students” seemed too, well “formal.”  With graduation happening on Saturday and I will have the immense honor and pleasure of handing you your Master’s Degree diplomas – and I will do so with a sense of pride that I feel the need  to express.

Since many of you who are graduating were in my first class, we all began this journey together,  I feel a deep bond with you.  And there are a few thoughts that I would like to express to you, the Class of 2009, and for the rest of my wonderful group of students.

Many of you may remember that, each semester, I reminded you that, although this was hard, we all were on a journey — together. And it was occasionally time to stop worrying about the grades and start thinking about the journey.  I did some thinking to, and here are just some of my thoughts.

Teaching many of you has been one of the greatest joys in my life, but it was I who learned from you.  Through your intelligence, intellectual curiosity and honesty, you made me better.  You pushed me to work harder. You challenged me to be at my best, each and every single class.

I have also had the distinct pleasure of staying in touch with many of you and providing career advice, life advice and basically anything that (I hope) was of value.  That too, is an honor;  it lets me know that ours was not just a temporary relationship, but a bond that was forged through tough work and sometimes, tough love.

For the class of 2009:  I feel an immense surge of pride and cannot wait to see you on Saturday.  Teaching with you, working with you, learning from you has been an immense pleasure and joy.

I was there for many of you on Day 1 — and I will have the honor of being there on the last day.

I thank you all humbly for this wonderful experience.




  1. Thanks, Mark. You not only teach how to be successful in PR/Social Media, you really do live it. You taught me you don’t have to be obnoxious to be influential, you can be humble and open and honest and people will respect you MORE, and that self-promotion can be self destruction – it’s always about the client. We all appreciate you.

  2. Shannon Barrett Says: May 14, 2009 at 6:50 am

    You are the best – thanks for all you do for us!!! See you soon.

  3. Thanks Mark for your kind words. I will always be grateful for what you taught me in the spring 08. I hope to see you on Saturday at the end of this great journey. But I am just about to start another journey – am expecting a baby any time! Keep in touch.

  4. Raquel Fuentes Says: May 14, 2009 at 9:39 am

    So sorry to see you leave Georgetown, but I know we’ll stay in touch. You are a great teacher. I’ve learned a lot from you because you pushed us hard, but that’s the only way to get to the next level. I can appreciate that. See you soon, Raquel

  5. Lindsey Brothers Says: May 14, 2009 at 9:53 am

    We heart you Mark! I just gave my new media presentation to my entire office and blew them out of the water. Afterwards I thought, “I need to tell Mark.”

    You will always be a major influence on me and my work. You expected perfection and we worked hard to achieve it. You were tough, but worked with us to help us get to where you expected us to be.

    Thanks for being an inspiration, teacher, mentor and friend. There are certain professors that stay in the minds of their students for their entire lives , you, Mark Story, are one of those professors.

  6. Jessica Ronan Jackson Says: May 14, 2009 at 11:08 am

    Mark: You were the reason I enrolled in the program…from the minute your presentation ended at the Open House, through boot camp, and my first semester at Georgetown, you have truly made this program a success. Intersection of Online/Offline PR was the most applicable class I’ve ever taken and your teaching style inspired me to achieve. Thank you SO much for pushing your students…that’s the only way we learn! Hope to see you soon!


  7. I am so glad and honored that I had the privilege to be in your class. Not only did I learn from you, but also you helped me find the confidence that I had lost earlier in the year and for that I will always be grateful.

    Some might say you were tough, but you were always fair. Thank you for not just being a great teacher, but a good friend and mentor.

    I hope to see you when I graduate from Georgetown. I look forward to staying in touch and being friends.

    Best you and your family.



    BTW, can’t wait to have Tequila shots later this month!

  8. Sunaina Says: May 16, 2009 at 6:44 am


    What a touching and inspiring post!

    This past semester was phenomenal: I took your marvelous class, acquired astounding public relations knowledge, and met a professor and friend that I hope to have for a very long time.

    Thank you, for all the effective tough love throughout the semester. Thank you, for always showering us with your rousing real life examples and practical advice. Thank you, for pushing us to excel time and time again.

    Mark, you’re brilliant, and a highly successful public relations professional, and yet you have always been supportive, caring and modest towards your students. You think of us as your “Georgetown Family,” and that says a lot!

    You are truly an exceptional person and I can not thank you enough for the impact you have had on a public relations newbie like me! Mark, you are truly a superstar! You
    offered kind words, loads of encouragement and I am so grateful.

    Have a marvelous time today at graduation. As a member of your
    Georgetown family, I salute YOU, Mark. You’re the best.


  9. Mark,

    I learned from you that the more challenging the journey is the more rewarding its finale will be.

    Thank you for a wonderful semester and for being both a brilliant professor and a wonderful friend.

    I am truly honored to have been one of your students.

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