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FSU's Jay Rayburn Mourned By Students, Colleagues And Friends

Two men in tuxedoes smile while holding a silver trophy.
Courtesy of Rick Oppenheim
FSU's Dr. Jay Rayburn and his longtime friend Rick Oppenheim

In the field of public relations and communications, Florida State University Professor Jay Rayburn has long been considered among the nation's best. Generations of Rayburn's students, colleagues and friends are now mourning his death. Tallahassee Marketing Firm owner Rick Oppenheim was one of Rayburn's closest friends.

"He advised me when I started my PR firm 35 years ago. In all that time, RB Oppenheim & Associates has had maybe 200 interns and almost all of them passed through his door or were referred by him or influenced by him. And a great number of my employees over those years."

Rayburn once estimated his total number of students over the years in excess of 40,000. Oppenheim also remembered Rayburn as a man who never took himself too seriously.

"He was very self-deprecating and was the master of aphorisms and colloquialisms and I think his words of wisdom will be remembered by many, many people."

Professor Jay Rayburn died on Monday of this week at the age of 73. A memorial takes place Saturday, July 17 at 2:00 p.m. in the FSU Champions Club.

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Tom Flanigan has been with WFSU News since 2006, focusing on covering local personalities, issues, and organizations. He began his broadcast career more than 30 years before that and covered news for several radio stations in Florida, Texas, and his home state of Maryland.

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