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Wesley M. "Pat" Pattillo

Associate General Secretary for Communication

Wesley M. "Pat" Pattillo is the Associate General Secretary for Communication of the National Council of Churches USA, and Director of the NCC Communication Commission.  Before his election to the Council staff in February 2001, he served three prominent Baptist educational institutions:

  • Samford University in Birmingham, Ala., as Vice President for University Relations, 1986-94.
  • Hong Kong Baptist University, Kowloon, the sole surviving Christian university in the People’s Republic of China, as Director of North American Relations,1996-2001.
  • Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky. the flagship institution of the Southern Baptist Convention, as Vice President for Development and Public Relations, 1972-86.

He also served as President of Jack and Ruth Eckerd's National Foundation for Youth in Clearwater, Fla., 1994-96, working with the founders to underwrite programs of rehabilitation for troubled teenagers and children.

Pattillo earned degrees in journalism and mass communications from the University of Georgia and Ohio State University.  He also studied in the Warren Deem Institute for Educational Management at Columbia University under a grant from the Lilly Endowment.

Besides his work in education and philanthropy, he has held a number of media-related positions, including radio and television news reporter, account executive for an advertising agency, and reporter for a daily newspaper.  In the 1990's he was writer and moderator for seven annual professional development teleconferences produced for Religion Communicators Council, an interfaith organization of which he was national president. 

Pattillo is a member of the Aspen Institute Roundtable on Communications and Society.  He is a North American board member for the World Association of Christian Communication, and currently is President of the Interfaith Broadcasting Commission, which works with ABC, CBS and NBC to develop religious programming.  He serves on the Corporation for Public Broadcasting's leadership summit on community outreach, working with PBS affiliates across the nation, and is on the member council of Faith and Values Media, an interfaith  production partner of the Hallmark Channel.  

For ten years, 1985-95, he chaired the promotion and development commission of the Baptist World Alliance.

In addition to earning professional accreditation (APR) from the Public Relations Society of America, Pattillo was honored by his peers with election to life membership in the PRSA College of Fellows in 1993.  He also earned CFRE certification from the National Society of Fund-Raising Executives, and was recognized by NSFRE in 1990 as fund-raising executive of the year in Alabama.

 In addition, the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) honored him with the national U.S. Steel Award for sustained achievement in institutional advancement. He served as chair of CASE's senior professionals division for the Southeast region.

His wife, Zelma Mullins Pattillo, is an ordained Southern Baptist minister and a board certified chaplain. She recently retired as coordinator of spiritual care for New Beacon Hospice, an ecumenical ministry of the Catholic and Baptist health care systems serving 22 counties in North Alabama.

The Pattillos are parents of two adult children. They are longtime members of Baptist Church of the Covenant, an inner-city Birmingham congregation born in the civil rights struggle of the 1960's.  It is affiliated with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and is a founding member of the Alliance of Baptists, an NCC communion.


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