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Smith Named Recipient of 2010 Douglas Ehninger Award by NCA

Published: August 2, 2010

Craig R. Smith, professor of Communication Studies at CSULB, has been named the recipient of the 2010 Douglas W. Ehninger Award for lifetime achievement in rhetorical scholarship by the National Communication Association (NCA).

The Ehninger Award honors distinguished scholars who have implemented research programs in rhetorical theory, rhetorical criticism or public address studies. The award is given to a person who, through multiple publications and presentations around a rhetorical topic or theme, demonstrates intellectual creativity, perseverance and impact on academic communities.

Smith will receive the award, which includes a plaque and a cash award from the Ehninger Award Fund, in November in San Francisco at the NCA’s annual meeting.

“The Ehninger Award is akin to the Rhetoricians’ Hall of Fame, and Craig deserves a prominent place in it. His scholarship–a unique blend of the theoretical, the critical and the historical–has been instrumental in advancing the field,” said Davis Houck, professor of communication at Florida State University and one of three colleagues who wrote letters of recommendation on Smith’s behalf. “His work will educate undergraduates and graduate students still unborn. His work is that profound.”

In part, Smith said he believes he was selected for the award for his monumental study, Rhetoric and Human Consciousness: A History (Waveland Press), which is going into a second printing of its third edition.

“I’m deeply honored to receive this award at this point in my career,” Smith said. “I’m grateful to my co-authors over the years who have helped me develop my understanding of rhetorical theory, which began in graduate school under the guidance of such mentors as Carroll Arnold and Forbes Hill. I am also grateful to my students who have refined my ideas as I have taught them.”

Smith has published 15 books and more than 60 scholarly articles. He served as a full-time speechwriter to President Gerald Ford and Chrysler CEO Lee Iacocca, and was a consultant to George H.W. Bush during his 1980 run for the presidency, and to CBS News for convention, election night and inaugural coverage. Smith is director of the Center for First Amendment Studies at CSULB and has been a faculty member at the campus since 1988.

Craig R. Smith
Craig R. Smith

“Professor Smith is certainly one of the most prolific scholars in the field. His writing, research and fieldwork in American public address and politics has generated much acclaim for the field of rhetorical and communication studies,” wrote Michael J. Hyde, the University Distinguished Professor of Communication Ethics in the Department of Communication at Wake Forest University, in his recommendation letter. “When in his presence in the classroom, students and colleagues are treated to a performance of scholarship that is stunning in its ability to entertain and educate.”

NCA is a non-profit organization that advances communication as the discipline that studies all forms, modes, media and consequences of communication through humanistic, social, scientific and aesthetic inquiry. The NCA serves the scholars, teachers, and practitioners who are its members by enabling and supporting their professional interests in research and teaching. The association is made up of more than 8,000 educators, practitioners and students who work and reside in every state and more than 20 countries.