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Honoring Braithwaite

Distinguished Service Award Speech: 2007

Presented to Dawn Braithwaite
by Brian Ott, Colorado State University

I am tremendously honored to address the members of the Association today for the purpose of presenting the WSCA Distinguished Service Award. This award, which was established in 1979 and first presented in 1980, recognizes "persons who have made considerable and longstanding contributions to WSCA and the communication field." Many of the award's previous winners are here with us today. So that we may thank them for their continued commitment to WSCA, would all past Distinguished Service Award winners please stand and be recognized?

As the chair of the Award Committee, I want to share that we had a large number of especially well qualified and deserving nominees this year. It is a testament, I believe, to the strength of our Association that so many members graciously dedicate so much of their time and themselves to WSCA. Indeed, reading the many letters of nomination, each testifying to the outstanding service of the nominees was moving, inspiring, and humbling. That the committee's task was not easy makes me doubly proud to present this year's award, for this person ultimately rose to the top of this remarkable pool. One of the things that impressed the committee most about this year's recipient is that he or she has served AND continues to serve both the Association and the discipline at all levels. From interest group chair and paper reviewer to Primary Program Planner and former WSCA President, today's honoree has left an indelible mark on our Association.

Outstanding service can be measured from any number of angles … breadth, longevity, quality, impact. But no matter how many ways one turns that prism, the name of this year's honoree is refracted back with unparalleled brilliance. A few examples will serve to illustrate. This year's award winner has served on the Finance Committee, the Nominating Committee, the Fisher Award Committee, and the Distinguished Service Award Committee, as well as a wide and I do mean wide array of ad hoc committees. In each of these capacities, the Association has greatly benefited from this person's legendary organizational skills. She or he has also served as an officer for two separate WSCA interest groups, chaired the legislative assembly, and served on the editorial boards of both the Western Journal of Communication and Communication Reports. Not only is our honoree's service record lengthy and diverse, but his or her participation in WSCA as a scholar is also noteworthy. This year's recipient delivered their [sic] first WSCA convention paper 30 year ago and has since authored or co-authored 28 more competitive papers.

Convention papers do not, of course, even begin to tell the story of our honoree's impressive record of scholarship. A quick glance at our awardees' vitae … alright! one does not glance quickly at this CV—one blocks off large segments of time, brews a cup of coffee, and settles in … reveals a premiere scholar who has authored 4 books and published more than 60 refereed articles and book chapters in such prestigious publications as the Journal of Applied Communication Research, Communication Studies, the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, and, of course, our very own Western Journal of Communication. I mention his or her scholarship because through it, noted one writer in her letter of nomination, our honoree has been "an amazing ambassador for WSCA."
An ambassador is someone who is accredited as a representative. I can think of no one whom I would rather have represent WSCA than our honoree. Not only has this person directed numerous Ph.D. dissertations, won teaching and mentoring awards, served on the editorial boards of 8 different journals, and done extensive community service work, but she also developed the "WSCA Calendar"—the principal tool that year after year assures that all of the Association's business is efficiently and effectively accomplished. Today, she continues to make us proud through service to the National Communication Association.

I'll admit that I was a bit nervous when I was appointed to chair the Distinguished Service Award Committee. Then I was given this massive binder, which includes examples of past nomination letters and speeches. But most helpful of all was the letter on the front page of the binder which carefully outlined the steps of my task. That letter was written 12 years ago, and yet it has remained the front piece of this manual. Its author is our award winner. For the enduring and prismatic brilliance of her service to WSCA, it is truly my great pleasure to present this year's Distinguished Service Award to Dawn Braithwaite.

Dawn Braithwaite's response

Dear WSCA Friends and Colleagues,

I was so surprised and greatly honored to receive the 2007 WSCA Distinguished Service Award at the convention in Seattle. I will never forget Brian Ott's kind words and your warm reception. Those who know me know how important WSCA is in my life. I presented my first paper there as an undergrad, first saw my husband-to-be at WSCA, and Chuck and I became engaged at WSCA in Seattle back in 1984! Through scholarship, service, and my presidency—all of it has been and continues to be a joy. Receiving a wonderful award like this in front of so many friends and with my amazing husband also receiving a Master Teacher Award the same year was one of life's great highlights. Thank you so very much.

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