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University of Iowa News Release

Sept. 24, 2003

Becker Honored For Distinguished Service To Public Humanities

Samuel L. Becker, University of Iowa Foundation Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Communication Studies, has received the 2003 Distinguished Service to the Public Humanities Award. The award was presented to him by Humanities Iowa (HI), the state affiliate to the National Endowment for the Humanities, during its program "Voices from the Prairie: The Fourth Annual Iowa Writers' Celebration" at the University of Iowa Library on Sept. 19. The award recognizes "exemplary vision, creativity or support for public humanities programs on the local, regional and/or state level."

"Sam's been a loyal friend and strong supporter of the public humanities," said HI director, Chris Rossi. "He's helped to create a strong bond and sense of community commitment between Iowa's general public and scholars at Iowa's tertiary education institutions. His award is well deserved, and perhaps overdue."

Becker holds three degrees from the University of Iowa (B.A., 1947; M.A., 1949; and Ph.D., 1953) and did post-doctoral study in the Bureau of Applied Social Research at Columbia University. He has written eight books, nine monographs and well over 100 articles and book chapters. He also has supervised 58 Ph.D. dissertations and has been the editor, associate editor, or reviewer for nine scholarly journals in communication and health disciplines.

As a member of most of the major associations in communications studies, Becker has chaired a wide range of association committees and divisions. He served as president of the Speech Communication Association and on the executive committee or board of directors of the International Communication Association, the National Association of Educational Broadcasters and the Council of Communication Societies.

From 1997-2000, he served on the board of directors of Humanities Iowa as a member of its executive committee and as chair of its program and grants committee. In addition to reviewing numerous grants applications from non-for-profit organizations around the state, he assisted in the development of programs supporting public initiatives on race, ethnicity and identity. According to Becker, "Humanities Iowa believes that the humanities offer the means to bring people together over their various divides and a promise of assistance in the search of the common good."

Between 1979-1984, he served on the review panel for research proposals for the National Endowment for the Humanities and continues to review proposals occasionally for fellowship, research and development programs within the NEH.

In addition to its Distinguished Service Award, HI presented its 2003 Outstanding Project in the Public Humanities to TRACES of 400,000 for its series of multimedia presentations on "Iowa and the Third Reich."

Humanities Iowa is a private, non-profit state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, whose mission is to enhance the civic life, culture, and identity of Iowans. Drawing on history, literature, philosophy, law, and other humanities fields, it fosters life-long learning, critical thinking, and community connections.

STORY SOURCE: Humanities Iowa

MEDIA CONTACT: Dana McGillin, 319-335-4153