Conference, community conversation series to honor Sam Becker

Conference, community conversation series to honor Sam Becker

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Sam Becker
Samuel L. Becker (1923 - 2012), namesake of the Communication Studies building and beloved UI professor. Photo by Jill Tobin.

The UI will host the Samuel L. Becker Memorial Conference Feb. 27 through March 1 and kick off a Community Conversations series to honor the life and work of the noted communications scholar and distinguished professor emeritus.

Becker (1923 -2012) explored themes of health, social change, and technology in his scholarship. He was and remains best known for his focus on the value of asking interesting questions, and staunch community support.

“One way you can judge someone’s impact is by those they came in contact with,” says Walid Afifi, Department of Communication Studies chair. “Sam’s impact was tremendous.”

Known by almost everyone he met as Mr. University of Iowa, Becker remained active in his field and in the community from the time he moved to Iowa City as an undergraduate in the 1940’s until his last days with family and friends.

About the Conference

The 2014 Samual L. Becker Memorial Conference will be held at hotelVetro in downtown Iowa City, and focus on the themes addressed in Becker’s own work.

John Sloop of Vanderbilt University will deliver the keynote address Thursday, Feb. 27, at 7 p.m. in the hotel’s Lehman Ballroom. The conference will conclude at 5 p.m. Saturday March 1 with a President’s Reception. The reception is free and open to the public.

All other events are open only to conference participants. UI students, faculty, and scholars are encouraged to attend. There is no registration requirement for UI affiliated persons and those from local surrounding communities. All others are required to register. There is no registration fee.

To learn how to register, view a schedule of speakers and events, or to watch the conference live online, visit the conference website.

Community Conversations

“A Community Conversation about Privacy and Surveilance” will take place Saturday, March 1, from noon to 1:15 p.m. in Iowa City Public Library (ICPL) Meeting Room A. It is free and open to the public.

Cindy Cohn, legal director of Electronic Frontier Foundation; Nicholas Johnson, former commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission; and Susan Craig, director of the ICPL, will be panelists. Conversation will be moderated by Kembrew Mcleod, professor ofcommunication studies.

The Samuel L. Becker Memorial Conference and Community Conversations were made possible by the UI Office of the President, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS) Excellence and Innovation fund, the CLAS Perry A. and Helen Judy Bond fund for Interdisciplinary Interaction, the Office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development, the Executive VP for Finance and Operations; and the National Communication Association.

Additional sponsors include the following: the University Lecture Committee, the UI Office of Outreach and Engagement, the Iowa City Public Library, and the Project on the Rhetoric of Inquiry.

Interested persons are welcome to contribute to these initiatives and the Communication Studies Department through the Communication Studies Gift Fund.

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all UI-sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires a reasonable accommodation in order to attend these events, or would like more information, contact Walid Afifi in advance at 319-335-0580 or at


Walid Afifi, Communication Studies, 319-335-0580


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