Communication Currents

NCA’s Centennial Committee Celebrates the Association’s 100th Year

December 1, 2014

NCA’s Centennial is a wonderful opportunity to ponder the past, present, and future of the association and discipline and to celebrate! The Centennial Committee was appointed by former NCA President Betsy Bach in 2009. We began meeting at the NCA convention in Chicago, where we returned for our 2014 meeting, November 20–23. Chaired by Dawn O. Braithwaite and Richard West, the committee began working on projects that have now come to fruition in 2014. 

Zac Gershberg chaired the project, “COMM 365: Celebrating 100 Years of Communication Research,” collecting and editing daily entries of research findings from the breadth of NCA Interest Groups. The National Office has compiled all of the entries into a volume. For the “I Remember NCA” project, Paaige Turner and Kate Hawkins collected video footage from a wide variety of NCA members and worked with colleagues from Wake Forest University to create a video montage that members could view in several venues. Jeff Child coordinated a project that encouraged departments to plan remembrances and celebrations of the centennial. Compiling a collection of photographs and discipline history was Thomas Bovino’s goal as he shared his materials with two groups of excellent panelists who discussed the centennial, the current state and the future of the association, and their implications. This year’s convention attendees each received seven centennial badge stickers. During the convention, they presented stickers to “Centennial Inspirations,” people they admire as a mentor, scholar, teacher, or leader. This project was coordinated by Dawn, Ann Darling, and Marla Chisholm.

The NCA Distinguished Scholars produced a set of archived interviews with the scholars, supported by Annenberg East. You likely have seen the notices announcing the excellent volume, A Century of Communication Studies: The Unfinished Conversation (Routledge), edited by Pat J. Gehrke and William Keith. The volume chronicles the development of Communication Studies as a discipline, providing a history of the field and identifying opportunities for future growth.

The “Social” Subcommittee of NCA’s Centennial Committee (Rich West, Marla Chisholm, Beth Graham, Jeff Child, and Ann Darling) worked to make several things come alive in Chicago. First, with the guidance of Vice President Carole Blair, Thursday was selected for an event to welcome newcomers to the association.  A large contingent of NCA teachers and scholars were on hand to meet and greet those new to the organization and/or convention. The “No Host” Welcome Reception, also on Thursday, featured birthday cupcakes for convention goers, who sang “Happy Birthday” to the organization to celebrate its first 100 years.  Finally, a Centennial Cocktail competition for NCA members resulted in Erin J. Rand from Syracuse University concocting the Windy City S’peach Easy, a combination of “moonshine, ginger, and cinnamon.” The drink was available to all as we toasted the past and ushered in the future. 

The Centennial Committee worked in close partnership with the NCA National Office:  Executive Director Nancy Kidd, Associate Director Brad Mellow, Director of Academic and Professional Affairs Trevor Parry-Giles, Director of Conventions and Meetings Michelle Randall, and Director of External Affairs and Publications Wendy Fernando. We also worked closely with 2014 First Vice President and Program Planner Carole Blair and 2014 President Kathie Turner. In addition, we are grateful for the many initiatives and projects the National Office has contributed to the celebration of NCA’s 100th year.

About the author (s)

Dawn O. Braithwaite

University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Willa Cather Professor and Chair

Richard West

Emerson College

Distinguished Professor