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Honoring Petronio

Distinguished Service Award Speech: 2006

Brenda Allen, Chair, 2006 WSCA Distinguished Service Award (DSA) Committee, adapted her extemporaneous DSA speech at the convention luncheon from the following:

Sandra Petronio has made "considerable and long-standing contributions both to WSCA and to the field of communication" and therefore is a worthy recipient of Western States Communication Association's highest honor, the Distinguished Service Award. Sandra joined WSCA in 1984 and since that time has served the Association in the following capacities:

member of the Nominating Committee (twice); member and Chair of the Time and Place Committee; Chair of the Interpersonal Interest Group; associate editor of Western Journal of Communication (twice); editor of Western Journal of Communication (the first woman!), during which time she chaired the B. Aubrey Fisher Award Committee three times; member of the WJC editor selection committee; Vice President and President of the Executives Club; First Vice President; President Elect and Program Planner for the 2001 Coeur d'Alene convention; President, and Immediate Past President, during which time she chaired the Nominating Committee and the Futures Committee.

However, a simple list of her service to WSCA, extensive as it is, does not capture her special care for the Association. Her organizational skills, her attention to detail, and her negotiating talents have been invaluable to the successful functioning of the Association numerous times.

For the 2001 convention, Sandra reached out to take over duties not normally done by the Program Planner in order to insure a successful convention. For the 2002 convention, she helped in ways the President usually would not when there were difficulties with the hotel's convention services.

As President, Sandra spent countless hours working with others to determine where the Association should be and to set out what needed to be done for a successful and secure future. She developed the proposal for the Memorial Fund which serves as the repository for contributions to the Association to honor individuals; she proposed making the ad hoc Futures Committee into a standing committee, and she initiated the idea of the Member Services Committee in conjunction with her Member Survey.

Finally, Sandra performed a less well-known but significantly important service when she deftly guided WSCA through a potentially serious public relations difficulty involving a possible liability issue. And after she diffused the problematic situation, she initiated procedures now in place to prevent its recurrence.

In addition to Sandra's noteworthy service to WSCA, her contributions to the field of communication are significant in two important ways. First, over 25 years she developed Communication Privacy Management (CPM) theory, explicating the theory in Boundaries of Privacy: Dialectics of Disclosure, published by the State University of New York Press in 2002. The book won the Gerald R. Miller Award from the National Communication Association in 2003 and the inaugural book award from the International Association of Relationship Research in 2004.

Second, one of her goals is to translate theory into practice. Consequently, she has conducted workshops and written popular articles on her research as well as co-authoring Privacy and Disclosure: HIV in Interpersonal Relationships, a sourcebook for practitioners and researchers using CPM to understand interpersonal disclosure patterns for people who are HIV positive. And in June, 2005, invited by the Consortium of Social Science Associations, she gave a Congressional Briefing in Washington, D.C. on protecting privacy.

As evidenced, Sandra is a worthy recipient of the WSCA Distinguished Service Award for her contributions to the Association and to the field. She has "done good by us" and "made us proud."

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