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Release: Dec. 22, 1999

Gronbeck wins national award named for UI colleague Becker

IOWA CITY, Iowa – Bruce Gronbeck, the University of Iowa's A. Craig Baird Distinguished Professor of Public Address, has won the 1999 Samuel L. Becker Distinguished Service Award from the National Communication Association (NCA).

Gronbeck was recognized for outstanding service to the communication discipline and to NCA. He is one of the field's leading scholars and has published extensively in the areas of public address, rhetorical theory, argumentation, and media criticism, among others. Gronbeck's work has shaped how scholars think about contemporary public discourse.

His long record of service to NCA and other organizations in his field includes serving as editor of one of the field's leading journals, sitting on numerous editorial boards, planning conferences and workshops, and serving as president of NCA in 1994. In naming him the recipient of the Becker Award, the association noted that along with all this work with colleagues nationwide, perhaps his most distinguished service has come in his 35-year career as a teacher.

The Distinguished Service Award, which is the NCA's most prestigious award, was created in 1971 to recognize a lifetime of outstanding service to the association and to the profession. In 1993, it was named for UI emeritus professor of communication studies Samuel Becker in honor of his retirement. He won the award in 1989. Other award winners who were UI faculty members when they were honored are Donald C. Bryant (1972), and Douglas Ehninger (1979). UI graduates have won the award 10 times in its history, including six awards in the 1990s.

Gronbeck said that he was pleased to be honored by his colleagues and that it was fitting that he win this award 10 years after Becker. "I've been following Sam Becker all my life. He has been my professional role model," Gronbeck said. "No one else has both the boundless energy and the boundless optimism that Sam has, and that has driven me to push myself to his level of excellence."