NCA 100th Annual Convention

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Welcome to the Centennial Convention

Welcome to the National Communication Association's Centennial Convention! Appropriately, we're back in Chicago where in 1914 our founders formed our association, then dubbed the National Association of Academic Teachers of Public Speaking. Our NCA conventions are always adventures—in hearing about and thinking through new (or old) ideas, seeing long-time colleagues, meeting new friends, seeing interesting new places, and testing out our own ideas on others. This year's convention is no different in those respects, but it is unique. We've never had a centennial before nor enjoyed the opportunities that this special moment offers. I hope you've planned to come early and stay late!

The NCA Centennial! series of sessions—53 strong—takes advantage of our opportune moment to reflect on various aspects of our contemporary field's historical development and to think seriously about our future as a professional association. Those sessions as well as many others related directly to the convention theme, "The Presence of Our Past(s): NCA at 100," are marked in the program with a centennial logo. This is an unusual chance to think about our history as a field and association; with the exception of a handful of scholars, most of us don't spend much time studying how our past(s) set conditions for the present and beyond.

Bearing that in mind, you won't want to miss the three general sessions. The NCA Opening Session, sponsored by Routledge, Taylor & Francis on Thursday, will feature a panel discussion on "The Future(s) of Communication Studies: For What? And For Whom?" It will be followed immediately by the Centennial Reception—a good, old-fashioned birthday party. The Carroll C. Arnold Distinguished Lecture, sponsored by Pearson, will be delivered by John Durham Peters, A. Craig Baird Professor of Communication Studies at the University of Iowa, on Friday. His lecture is entitled—intriguingly—"What Is Knowledge For? And What Does Communication Have to Do With It?" NCA President Kathleen J. Turner will deliver the Presidential Address, entitled "Back to Our Future: The Presence of Our Past(s), the Echoes of Our Future," on Saturday. I didn't know she was into science fiction, but it sounds like a time-traveling adventure! Her address will be followed by presentation of NCA awards to some of our most accomplished scholars, mentors, and teachers. Please be there to go time traveling with Kathie and to toast our award winners afterward at a reception featuring appetizers and the NCA Centennial Cocktail! 

Some convention sessions will make use of Chicago sites—the Art Institute, the Adler Planetarium, and Buddy Guy's Legends blues club. Some programs honor the legacies of colleagues who have recently passed on. Others share crucial professional development information. Our recurrent series offer a giant array of interesting topics this year. Pre-conferences and seminars provide for extended discussions of specific topics. Scholar-to-Scholar, Teachers on Teaching, G.I.F.T.S, Short Courses, and Roundtables on Research in Progress are jammed with interesting and inspiring material. Please make sure to attend one of the sessions with the candidates for Second Vice President, and please also make time to attend "Chautauqua in Chicago," a discussion of proposed changes to NCA's governing documents and a time to make suggestions for further revision. This is important for us all. Be sure to catch one of the many performance panels that address—seriously or not so seriously— NCA's first 100 years. 

And when it's all over on Sunday, may we leave the Centennial Convention with renewed spirits and minds for beginning NCA's next century, and with great ideas to keep us sustained until we meet again in Las Vegas in 2015. Enjoy!

2014 Convention: Carole BlairCarole Blair
NCA First Vice President
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill




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