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Honoring Pendell

Distinguished Service Award Speech: 2014

Presented to Sue Pendell
by Teresa Bergman

It is my honor to present the 2014 WSCA Distinguished Service Award.

What characteristics distinguish this year's recipient? It seems like she has done just about everything a member of our discipline could do and then quite a bit more.

The recipient is an accomplished scholar and has published 17 scholarly journal articles and book chapters, gave 21 conference paper presentations, and written multiple workbooks all of which engaged crucial conversations about communication practice and theory.

Our recipient's career is defined by concern and deep insight into the value of communication inside and outside the academy. Our recipient has served in training and development for over 30 academic institutions and businesses, and our award winner has worked as a consultant for over 20 academic and private organizations. Our recipient has served universities in an impressive array of positions – from Alabama to Australia -- our awardee's contributions to academia are truly impressive. Our recipient has chaired nearly every major leadership committee in WSCA, including the Finance Committee, the Steering Committee, the Credentials Committee, the Public Information Officer Search and Role Committee, the Model Teaching Awards Committee, the Executives Club and has been a Representative the Legislative Assembly on 8 different occasions. Our recipient has held every imaginable elected position within WSCA, including Representative to the National Communication Association Legislative Assembly, At-Large Representative to the Executive Council, First Vice President President-Elect, Primary Program Planner, and is a past president. As one nominator commented, "Few people in the history of the organization have served the association with as much skill, dedication and passion." Another nominator described our recipient's devotion to this organization as "steady and without reservation."

In fact, people have been waiting to recognize our nominee's tremendous history of service to WSCA. One letter writer wrote that "I have been waiting five years to write this letter of support," and that "I can think of no one with whom I have worked and served over the years who is more deserving." Another letter writer, who has also been waiting to recognize our nominee's service to WSCA, noted that "this is one of those rare times when our nominee is not on the Executive council and therefore eligible to be selected." This writer recognized our recipient's "intelligence, dogged work ethic, and keen eye for details that matter."

Many of the letter writers attested to our recipient's amazing service to WSCA when our organization needed some work, "he/she is a great blend of applying his/her pragmatism, intelligence and creativeness to solve problems," which has resulted in "guaranteeing that WSCA stays a leading academic organization." In fact, our nominee played a key role in righting our organizational ship. Another writer notes that our nominee's "most important contribution to the association was as Executive Director," when "WSCA's financial matters were opaque at best, and membership services were virtually non-existent," and that our recipient worked "tirelessly for the next four years restructuring the inner-workings of the association." Two letter writers saw first hand how our recipient "not only helped save the organization from near disaster" but then our recipient's work "placed the association on extraordinarily firm footing." Another letter writer speaks to how our nominee's service to the organization was absolutely critical because "WSCA needed serious attention and as a new Executive director, she jumped in with both feet," and "did what needed to be done. There is no way to do justice to all she accomplished as WSCA Executive Director and suffice it to say I can think of no one who could have done a better job or made more of a difference than she did."

Perhaps then, the best way, no, the only way for WSCA to recognize this year's recipient is to have an extremely organized conference, come in under budget, be incredibly inclusive and transparent in all of its dealings with its members new and old, and to give an award speech that does not run too long. Please join me in congratulating the 2014 Distinguished Service Award Recipient Sue Pendell.

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