Committee Chair, Deanna Dannels’ tribute to Bill Eadie:
I grew up at WSCA.
What does that mean? Well, it means I gave my first Top Four conference paper here. It means I responded to my first panel here. It means… alright, I’ll own up; it means I spent oh (just a few) Utah parties walking around pouring champagne for attendees. You may think this a peripheral part of my vita, but not so much. When you walk around with a bottle of champagne filling glasses, you learn a lot, believe me. Most notably, you learn who the “important people” of WSCA are. Listening to the conversations that dawn the lips of party attendees, you learn about the pillars of our organization. I learned very quickly--years ago-- that our award recipient was indeed one of those pillars. And as I reviewed our recipient's materials, it became even more clear to me why.
If there was an award for one of the longest and most robust scholarly and service careers, our recipient would likely win it. You see, our recipient’s first conference presentation here at WSCA was in 1972. And this person is still an active participant in the discipline and in our association. The length of service is impressive, but the quality is unmatched. One supporter writes: “While many may develop lengthy service vitas, few provide such wise, thoughtful, helpful service.”
If there was an award for the person who has mentored the most WSCA presidents, our recipient would likely win it. In fact, I feel like I’ve gotten a glimpse at the “man behind the curtain” of the WSCA presidency. Count them-- 10 past WSCA presidents shared that our recipient was instrumental in their success (and my guess is there are many more out there), using words like “selfless mentor,” “inspiration,” a “someone you could count on,” and “sound advice.” Honestly, WSCA presidents, I don’t know what y’all would have done without this person!
If there was an award for the person whose service contributions will leave the longest legacy, our recipient would likely win it. One of our colleagues suggests that “as a career chronicler of the discipline's history, and as editor of other chroniclers of the discipline’s current paradigmatic status” our recipient “has made a material and important contribution to the field’s past and present history.”
If there was an award for most offices at WSCA served, our recipient would win it. Our recipient has held almost every position that exists here: Delegate at large, second and first vice president, president, immediate past president, president of the executive club, editor of the newsletter, editor of Western Journal of Communication (to name a few). 48 service roles at WSCA! Now, I’m no quantitative researcher, but that seems significant to me.
Now: we all know Western is the best, right? Right. I would be remiss, though, if I didn’t nod to our recipient’s contributions elsewhere as well. If there was an award for the most influential and important service to our discipline at large, our recipient would likely win it. One supporter writes that our recipient: “did significant service on behalf of the discipline, concentrating on activities that brought the discipline into the public eye, moving the discipline forward in important ways.”
Finally, if there was an award for the person in the room who has most graced our association with kindness, generosity and goodwill, our recipient would most definitely win it. One supporter writes: “it is difficult to find anyone in the discipline who are recipient has not met, come to know, with whom he has not maintained good relations… the consummate mediator, negotiator, and communicator.”
There are no such aforementioned awards, per se. What there is this: the most prestigious award that Western States Communication Association gives: the Distinguished Service Award. And every year, it is given to one of the pillars of the association.
I grew up at WSCA. I learned very quickly who the important people were. Some things have changed since then -- there’s no more pouring champagne at the Utah party, for one-- but even without that, I know who the pillars are. Some things do not change.
If our association needed a brain, he would be in the driver's seat with his wisdom.
If our association needed a heart, he would be at the helm with his generosity.
If our association needed courage, he would be at the fore, an exemplar of selfless bravery.
Some things do not change.
I’m not sure if I ever poured you champagne, but if not, let me do the honor now of pouring for you, one of our association’s pillars.
It is my honor and great privilege to present the Western States Communication Association’s 2016 Distinguished Service Award to Professor Bill Eadie.