Unveiled Wall of Recognition honors ‘best of the best’, symbolizing leadership in communication
In addition to the 77 Alumni Hall of Fame and five Early Career Award names, the wall displays the four columns of Sylvan Grove – an iconic scene of the UW campus that represents loyalty, industry, faith, and efficiency (LIFE). Even more importantly, the display represents another ‘L’ word.
“This wall is part of a departmental focus on leadership – being leaders and developing leaders,” said David Domke, Department of Communication Chair.
Along with the physical pronunciation of leadership in the building, the Department has taken steps to be at the forefront of this movement with a professional Master’s program called Communication Leadership, hiring a staff person to create a leadership fellows program, launching a Leadership Luncheon last year, and in two years beginning a summer leadership institute for undergraduates housed in a new Center on Communication, Difference, and Equity. All of these led to the creation of a new Endowment for Leadership in Communication, which funds intense, immersive opportunities for leadership development among Department of Communication students.
Former Department Chair Jerry Baldasty, along with Alumni Relations & Outreach Manager Victoria Sprang, formed the Alumni Hall of Fame in 2004. Baldasty said he discovered two things during the process: Alumni were excited to be involved and the Department has a remarkable group of people who have graduated from the program.
“It was a signal to our faculty and to our students that these are amazing role models,” said Baldasty, who now serves as UW’s Senior Vice Provost for Academic and Student Affairs, “and to thank outstanding alumni and recognize the remarkable work they have done.”
In recounting a memorable, childhood road trip to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York and bringing out a souvenir baseball bat that has sat on the windowsill of his office for the past 16 years, Domke compared this moment in honoring “the best of the best.”
“These people have had professional success, without question, and have used that success in all kinds of valuable, socially good ways in different communities,” he said. “Not until today, however, have we had a location, a distinct place in the Department of Communication where we publicly declared the names of those people who are the best of the best.”