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Honoring Lustig

Distinguished Service Award Speech: 2010

Awarding Dr. Myron W. "Ron" Lusting with the Distinguished Service Award, Shane Moreman authored this speech. On March 8, 2010, Dr. Moreman delivered the speech at the 2010 convention of the Western States Communication Association held in Anchorage, Alaska.

It is my honor to present this year's Distinguished Service Award.

My first WSCA conference was in 2004 in Albuquerque, New Mexico… the land of enchantment. I was inspired by that particular conference's contagious congeniality as well as its "fierce" leadership. At this conference, I quickly learned of the rites of rituals of WSCA: the reunions in the lobby, the Sunday night sock hop, the Monday morning hangovers, the long, long, long Executive Council meetings… And through the years I've tried my best never to miss a WSCA.

One of the important rituals of WSCA is this luncheon here today. And within this ritual is the awarding of the Distinguished Service Award.

So, who is it?

Look to your left, look to your right. Possibly you are sitting next to someone who has put in hours and hours to help WSCA run like a well-oiled machine. Interest Group Chairs, Interest Group Secretaries, Paper Reviewers, Panel Chairs, Panel Respondents… and of course the members of numerous committees like the Finance Committee, the Publication Committee or even the program planner for WSCA 2012 in Monterey Bay.

The service that we do for and at WSCA does not necessarily get us much "street cred" in our departments; it doesn't necessarily get us kudos in our families; nor does it necessarily get us higher paychecks. What it does get us is moments like this one, nestled in a warm hotel in Anchorage, Alaska with some people who will come to offer us some of the most meaningful friendships throughout our lives.

The Distinguished Service Award stands to honor someone amongst us who has made "considerable and longstanding contributions to WSCA and the communication field." As hard as you worked to make WSCA happen, this person is being honored as someone who is an example of one of the hardest workers throughout the years among us.

Another ritual of WSCA is that I am not allowed to tell you the name of the recipient until the end of my speech. Growing up with Spanish as one of my languages, all things have a stated gender. In Spanish you place "el" or "la" before a noun. "El piso" means that the floor is masculine. "La mesa" means that the table is feminine." In writing this English-languaged speech, I got so confused with mixing the masculine and the feminine, that I decided to use a hybrid of the two and refer to the awardee as an "it." So rather than he or she, him or her, this person is "it."

So, who is it?

This person, "it," has been an active WSCA member for years and years. "It" has served on the Executive Council, Publications Committee, Legislative Assembly, Finance Committee, Name-Change Committee, Distinguished Service Award Committee, Future's Committee, Nominating Committee, Distinguished Scholars Committee, Time-and-Place Committee, and in various interest-group positions. And you know what, "it's" still attending interest group meetings. I was at the Intercultural Interest Group meeting and I saw "it" there.

So, who is it?

It has served at First Vice President, President Elect and Primary Program Planner, President and Immediate Past President. And it continues its involvement with the Executives Club.

Even though it has been so busy with WSCA, it has always continued to shape our field with its scholarship. 24 articles, 17 book chapters, two highly important textbooks, and 60 conference papers. And it's presenting a paper at this conference too!

Sue Pendell wrote: "Perhaps a little known fact about [it]. [It's] an avid and accomplished photographer. [It] took many of the photographs published in the book, Intercultural Competence and [it] has even seen [its] photographs published in the Los Angeles Times."

So, who is it?

It clearly has a commitment to WSCA as evidenced through extensive participation both through scholarship and service. The personality of this person is wonderfully subversive. Of this nominee, Kathy Adams said "You can always count on [it] to be the devil's advocate. [It's] contrariness has more often than not helped WSCA see issues in a different way and in a much needed different way. [It's] a bit of a contrarian AND [it's] the sort of person that allows any organization not to get stuck."

So, who is it?

One last thing: It's a person who is in a faculty early retirement program at its university. A person who, rather than resting on its laurels after retirement, has decided to take on new challenges by focusing its energies on teaching in Shanghai, China. For the past two years, it has been teaching there. Of this person, Kurt Lindemann says, "[This person] inspires me with [its] commitment to teaching. Like no other professor, [it] is dedicated to undergraduate teaching and has shown me how important it is not only to focus on the graduate students, but on the undergraduates too."

So, who is it?

El macho… El hombre de la hora…

Please join me in congratulating this year's Distinguished Service Award winner. Dr. Myron W. "Ron" Lustig.

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