U of M's Ranta Named AdFed's Silver Medal Winner

By Sarah Baker

Each year, members of the advertising profession select one of their own for the highest recognition the American Advertising Federation Memphis can give.

Richard F. Ranta, founding dean of the College of Communication and Fine Arts at the University of Memphis, has been named the 2011 Silver Medal winner – awarded to those men and women who have made outstanding contributions to advertising and who have been active in furthering industry standards.

Nominees are judged on their contributions to their company, creative ability, contributions to the general advancement of advertising and their contributions to the community.

Ranta, 67, studied rhetorical programs, theory and history, developing a passion for the industry at a young age.

“The communication field has always been involved in advertising, particularly political advertising, so I had a natural affinity to give persuasive messages,” he said. “A number of people in the advertising industry were very active in the early years of the college in trying to help us build the program and I thought it was my real duty and obligation to help the club.”

Ranta’s nine-page-long resume includes involvement with the Memphis/Shelby County Film & Television Commission; Tennessee Film, Entertainment and Music Commission; the Southern States Communication Association; the Southern Arts Federation; the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences' production of the Grammy Awards; judge and contributor of questions for WREG's Knowledge Bowl program; city of Memphis Civilian Law Enforcement Review; Gilliam Communications Inc.; Concerts International; Libertyland and Mid-South Fair; and the Memphis Rotary Club.

Ranta follows an impressive line of silver medal recipients – including Dan Conaway (1988), Ward Archer Jr. (1991), Michael Thompson (1996), Ron Spielberger (1999), Gay Veazey Williams (2000), Dee Cole (2004), Bob Eoff (2005), Donna Gordy (2006), Craig Harper (2007), Art Gilliam (2009) and Rikki Boyce (2010).

“It came as a total surprise,” Ranta said. “It has been a terrific career that I’ve engaged in. I’m very honored to join the group here wearing the silver medal.”

If Ranta could give his students and successors one piece of advice, he said it would be to get involved.

“Particularly in Memphis, it’s a great community to be active in not only your professional work, but in the community itself,” Ranta said. “It’s been a community that opens itself easily for people who want to step forward and do some jobs. While it takes a lot of time, you’ll find the results are well worth it.”