In Memoriam: Howard Paster

August 15, 2011

Mr. Paster was a Clinton administration official and member of the Graduate School of Political Management’s advisory council.

Howard Paster, an influential lobbyist, public relations pioneer and member of the GW Graduate School of Political Management’s Council on American Politics, died Aug. 10 at the age of 66.

Mr. Paster was the executive vice president of WPP, the world’s leading communications services group, and the former chairman and CEO of Hill & Knowlton. He was married to Gail Kern Paster, former GW professor of English and director of the Folger Shakespeare Library.



“Howard Paster was a great Washingtonian, a distinguished public servant, and a true friend of the George Washington University,” said GW President Steven Knapp. “Our thoughts and prayers are with Gail Kern Paster and the Paster family.”

Jack Gerard, president and CEO of the American Petroleum Institute and chair of GSPM’s Council on American Politics, called Mr. Paster “a dear friend and colleague.”

“Howard was the ultimate gentleman—serious, sober with a wry sense of humor and wonderful to work with. He will be missed, and our thoughts and prayers are with Gail and the family,” said Mr. Gerard, who formerly served as the Council on American Politics co-chair with Mr. Paster.

Prior to joining Hill & Knowlton in 1994, Mr. Paster served as assistant to President Bill Clinton and was director of the White House Office of Legislative Affairs. He was also a member of the board of trustees of Tuskegee University, president of the Little League Foundation and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

“It is always sad to lose a living legend, and Howard Paster—despite his frequent denials of such a stature—was one of those in the world of public relations,” said Larry Parnell, director of GW’s Strategic Public Relations program. “From his work in the White House to his leadership of Hill & Knowlton and ultimately in his key role at WPP, Howard was a trusted adviser and friend to hundreds of people.”

“For me personally, Howard was a colleague, mentor and most of all a good friend,” said Mr. Parnell. “His contributions to our profession, GW, GSPM and, in particular, the Strategic Public Relations program are beyond measure and will serve as part of his legacy.”

Funeral arrangements are pending.

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