Rowene C. Danbom was a pioneering news reporter, public relations practitioner and college journalism and public relations professor. She began her career in 1937 on the Evening Sentinel in Shenandoah, Iowa. She later served as International News Service’s first woman bureau chief in Des Moines and was also a statehouse reporter for the Associated Press. Following the birth of her two sons, she returned to journalism as an editor for United Press International.
She joined the public relations staff of the Colorado Highway Department in 1959 and became public relations director for the Colorado Department of Health in 1964. When she left the health department to join the journalism faculty at Colorado State University, the Denver Post editorialized about her honesty, integrity and public service – an unprecedented accolade for a news organization to bestow on a public relations person.
She received the media award from the Rocky Mountain Center on the Environment for outstanding environmental achievement in bringing to light the potential hazard posed by exposure to low-level radiation from widespread uranium mill tailings used in housing construction. Her efforts led to immediate action. She also received the first Distinguished Communicator Award from the International Association of Business Communicators/Colorado Chapter.
Several of her public relations plans were cited in textbooks and papers from her career now reside in the Iowa Women’s Archives at the University of Iowa. She was accredited by the Public Relations Society of America and was a longtime member of the Society of Professional Journalists and the Denver Press Club. She greatly valued education, integrity, perseverance and the power of the written word.
The Rowene C. Danbom Scholarship was established in her honor and seeks to encourage her values in CSU Journalism and Technical Communication students.