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News & Press: Awards

2020 Immediate Past President Speech

Tuesday, April 21, 2020   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Maria Blevins
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Presented to: Brian Heisterkamp

Presented by:  Christina Granato Yoshimura


It is an honor to recognize and thank Dr. Brian Heisterkamp for his leadership of the Association over the past four years.  Brian’s 2018 convention on Mindfulness and Communication brought to the forefront two touchstones of the practice of mindfulness: presence and possibility.


With a focus on presence we bring our full awareness to the current moment – to all that is and to only what is.  When Brian asked us to be present with our work as communication scholars, as well as with the state of our institutions and our Association, he was asking us to remove some of our daily blinders.  He offered a convention theme to help us build a fresh perspective of both the positive impact of our teaching, research, and service and also the ways in which we have reproduced social structures that benefit individuals and groups unequally.  Brian urged our intentional focus upon each of our choices as teachers and scholars.  It is often uncomfortable to sit with what is, to be fully present in what we are creating.  But the invitation to that level of reflection matters, and building space for that reflection is one of the many contributions for which we thank Brian on behalf of our Association.


The focus on presence paves the way for the second gift of mindfulness – possibility.  In interacting with Brian on a personal or professional level one of the things you notice is his belief in the possibility of change and of growth. In his Presidency and in his convention theme Brian offered the challenge for each of us to use our expertise to engage more fully, more equitably, and more humanely.  Again, we thank Brian for his belief in our capacity to enact change through communication.  We can each rise to action through reflection on that potential and possibility.  Thank you, Brian, for being a beacon of presence and possibility here at WSCA.  Thank you for serving with both your intellect and your heart, and for sharing your openness and generosity with all of us at WSCA.


Christina Granato Yoshimura (she/her/hers)
Professor, Communication Studies
The University of Montana
President-Elect, Western States Communication Association




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