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University of Iowa News Release

Sept. 22, 2003

McGee Remembered In Journal He Helped To Create

The legacy of Michael Calvin McGee, who taught at the University of Iowa, his alma mater, for more than 20 years, is felt throughout the field of communication studies, but perhaps nowhere more strongly than the American Communication Journal, which he helped to launch in 1997. The summer 2003 issue of that journal is dedicated to his memory.

McGee taught in the communication studies department in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences from 1979 to 1999. Late in his distinguished career, which was marked by numerous awards and accolades from his colleagues worldwide, he became interested in digitally mediated communication and helped to found the American Communication Journal. Commissioned by the American Communication Association, it was one of the first academic journals to be published solely online and is dedicated to the conscientious analysis and criticism of significant communicative artifacts.

He envisioned the journal -- with all of the hypertext possibilities -- as "a whirl of activity on these screens, not just the bloodless publication of scholarship, but the embodied and enacted, contested and appreciated, performance of scholarship."

After McGee's death in October 2002, his widow Gina McGee, associate director of sponsored programs at the UI, began talking with the journal's editors about engaging his ideas as the most fitting tribute to his contributions to the discipline and the many lives he touched. The result is "Engaging Fragments: A Tribute to Michael Calvin McGee," published at

The peer-reviewed articles in this issue each reflect McGee's commitment to scholarship in some way. The book review section includes eight books that focus on his various interests in the discipline, including technology, cyberculture, persuasion and film. Each invited essay engages his ideas, from specific notions of rhetoric, to what is meant by public scholarship. Gina McGee provided guidance in selecting authors whose lives had intersected with McGee, his values and his thoughts. Her essay reflecting on several turning points in McGee's academic and personal life speaks to the love and admiration that she and others felt.

"McGee's love of teaching and the life of the mind never left him; only his energy and his breath," Gina McGee wrote. "I know that his work, his ideas and his love of asking the unanswerable question and of seeking those answers at the primary and the metaphysical level continue. And, I trust that those who worked with him and learned from him care as much about helping young scholars find their voices as he did."

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

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