CAS Colleagues Bid Farewell to Advertising Professor Larry Pontius

Posted on: July 9, 2013

former associate professor Larry PontiusCAS alumnus and former associate professor Larry Pontius passed away in his home in Longwood, Florida on Sunday, June 3 after spending his last two weeks surrounded by his wife, Harriet, five children and close friends, according to fellow CAS alumnus Craig Murray.

His daughter, Rebecca, noted that "Larry will be remembered as a mentor, copywriter, teacher, swimmer, scotch drinker, author, husband, producer, lyricist, father and creative genius. He inspired everyone he met to think outside of these four connected lines."

Born in Jackson, Mich., Pontius had an exciting career after attending MSU from 1958 to 1962. While at MSU, he was a member of Beta Theta Pi fraternity, swam on the Spartan varsity swim team and was the advertising manager for The State News. He graduated with a B.A. in radio and television and an M.A. in advertising. His first job out of college was as a copywriter for Leo Burnett Company in Chicago. He then went on to become the copy supervisor at Grey Advertising in Detroit and creative director for Grey's offices in Sydney and Melbourne, Australia.

Pontius made his way back to MSU in 1972, joining the CAS advertising department. He was the student advisor for the first MSU team to win the American Advertising Federation's national student advertising competition.

In 1974, Pontius became the director of marketing for Walt Disney World. Two years later he moved to corporate headquarters in Burbank, Calif., to become vice president of marketing for Disneyland and Walt Disney World. In 1980 he returned to Florida to form his own advertising and video production firm.

Among his many career distinctions, Pontius was recognized as the Outstanding Alumnus for CAS in 1978. He also was honored with the American Marketing Association's Effie Award, an Addy from the Advertising Club of New York, a Clio for international advertising, and Bronze Lions from both the Venice and Cannes Film festivals. Pontius is the author of "Waking Walt," "Future King" and "Lyrics of Life in Four-Part Harmony."

As his friend and colleague Craig Murray shared, "the life he lived was simply "incredible."

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