By Allison Kozicharow; Edited by Jessie Crowdy
WiRED International announces Virgil Scudder’s retirement from the WiRED Board. To honor his service to the organization, WiRED has named him to emeritus status.
Mr. Scudder’s involvement with WiRED spanned more than 20 years. He firmly believed in the important role played by information and training in prevention, early detection and prompt treatment. In a 2020 opinion piece, Mr. Scudder highlighted the value of WiRED’s work in offering medical education and information to vulnerable communities through its Community Health Worker (CHW) Training Program and Vaccinator Training Program. He said, “In the current COVID-19 environment, it is likely that prevention will be the CHWs’ most worthy contribution.”
Most notably, he produced, co-wrote and provided financial support for the “WiRED in Action” and “WiRED 20th Anniversary” videos, found here.
“I think the contributions that bring me the greatest pride are the two videos I produced for the website,” Mr. Scudder said. “Working with producer and editor Jon Ecklund, an old colleague from New York, we were able to come up with pieces that have been praised by people active in WiRED. I scripted, produced and underwrote these.”
WiRED Executive Director Gary Selnow, Ph.D., said, “I first met Virgil when I was a college kid working at WCTC radio, many years ago. He demanded a lot from his staff and let us know it when we didn’t meet his high standards. I am forever grateful for that. What a happy (and improbable) reunion it was when Virgil and I crossed paths again many years later, when he agreed to work with our small group at WiRED to build an organization that has helped some of the world’s troubled populations know a little more about disease prevention and health.”
“I’m hardly retiring and probably never will, just shifting my focus,” remarked Mr. Scudder. His plans for the future include continuing to run a small consulting business with a pharma company on retainer. Mr. Scudder will stay active on the Executive Dean’s Advisory Board of The College of Arts and Sciences at Indiana University and will remain engaged in working for political causes and candidates. He will also have more time to spend with his wife, Susan, his children and his grandchildren.
Mr. Scudder said, “My best memory working with WiRED is the wonderful friendships with Gary and the board, as fine a board as I’ve ever served on. What fantastic, talented, accomplished and generous people. I loved the camaraderie of the board meetings and the dinners that followed. Another ‘best’ memory is hearing Gary recite what the organization was accomplishing in its outreach efforts. WiRED’s record is remarkable. I will very much miss these board meetings and being an active participant in the organization.”
The entire WiRED family will miss Mr. Scudder and wishes him well in his retirement from the WiRED board.
Tributes to Virgil Scudder from WiRED Board Members
Virgil has provided WiRED with his guidance, inspiration and contributions over the years — especially in creating and underwriting videos. I and others on the board have benefited from his counsel and good sense and from his friendship and positive spirit. My respect and deepest gratitude go out to Virgil for the support and the impact he has had on WiRED and me.
—Gary Selnow, Ph.D., WiRED Founder and Executive Director
Virgil’s expertise and support over many years has helped WiRED communicate its message effectively, and his experience in the global community has added to the cultural context of WiRED’s outreach worldwide. As an early member of the WiRED Board, Virgil has supported WiRED’s use of video, enhancing WiRED’s message through visual media and our outreach to philanthropy. He will be greatly missed from our board.
—Charlotte Keegan Ferretti, Ed.D., R.N., WiRED Board Chair
Virgil has been an outstanding colleague on WiRED’s Board, always giving more than 100% in sage advice, creative thinking and generous donations of time, money and resources. I will miss seeing him at our meetings.
—Suellen Crano, Ph.D.
I have always been impressed with Virgil’s energy, sense of humor and thoughtful contribution to the activities of WiRED. Getting to know him at our board meetings has been a real joy.
Virgil made immense contributions to WiRED’s public relations, from press releases to brochures, as well as excellent short videos. He could always be counted on not only to provide good ideas but to tackle the work to bring them to fruition. His shoes will be difficult to fill.
—Elizabeth Fine, Ph.D.
I always remember Virgil as being the head cheerleader for WiRED, with a passion for championing all board member ideas and initiatives, and talking about WiRED’s work in an impactful way. He has always been an inspiration as we have navigated many interesting years of global outreach.
Virgil served as WiRED’s go-to person for advice on press releases and ideas for promotion and distribution of WiRED materials. He never hesitated to pitch in to volunteer for WiRED from producing videos to writing personal opinion pieces for the website. I’ll miss his enthusiasm, professionalism and can-do attitude.
Mr. Scudder is a long-time executive communication coach and consultant. He founded Virgil Scudder & Associates in 1990 after serving as senior vice president of the international public relations firm Hill & Knowlton. Earlier, he worked as news editor, producer and on-air talent at NBC, ABC and to all-news WINS in New York City where he acted as news editor and a first-night Broadway drama critic and aired features on the New York cultural scene. Mr. Scudder was the 2013 winner of the National Public Relations Achievement Award for lifelong dedication and leadership in the field of public relations.