The Department of Communication's annual public lecture series is funded through a bequest by Josephine B. Jones, a lifelong educator, community activist and longtime resident of nearby Greeley, Colorado.

Miss Jones (as she preferred to be called) was born in 1900, the only child of a family who had moved to Greeley from Iowa after the Civil War. Her father ran a hardware store in town. She graduated from Greeley High School in 1919, and from the University of Colorado Boulder in 1923 with a Bachelor of Arts in Literature. Her initial postgraduate studies at Northwestern University were cut short when she returned home to care for her aging mother. Following her parents’ death, she moved to New York City and completed a master’s degree in Speech Studies from Columbia University.

Having developed a passion for performance and theater, Josephine Jones subsequently taught speech and drama in the public schools of Ossining, New York for 40 years. She retired in 1962 and returned to Greeley, where she cultivated her great love of the arts and humanities for public benefit. Having traveled widely and developed a keen interest in public affairs, she organized several women’s discussion groups, and staged dramatic readings and plays. These events were always marked by her characteristic elegance, verve, and humor.

During the late 1980s, Miss Jones experienced declining health, including a vision impairment that left her partly reliant upon the radio for news and information. Radio broadcasting during this period was marked by the rise of talk show formats run by provocative hosts who often engaged in shrill and calloused exchanges with their callers. Miss Jones experienced a visceral reaction to this type of programming, judging it not only inept expression, but also a form of incivility corrosive to the public discourse required of a democratic society.

Emeritus Professor Philip K. Tompkins first visited with Miss Jones in 1989 and their conversations concerning the importance of cultivating decorum and eloquence in the coming generations led her to plan a significant gift to the Department of Communication.

Following her death in 1990, the department received an endowment of $1 million—a donation which complemented her support of CU’s Theatre Department and the renovation of the Macky Hall performance venue. The proceeds from this gift have funded department offerings of the Public Speaking course and events such as the lecture series.

We at CMCI's Department of Communication are grateful to be the stewards of this gift and proud to offer educational programs which honor the spirit of Miss Josephine Jones.

Date Topic/Title Speaker
1994 “Rhetoric and the Arts of Design” David Kaufer, Department of English, Carnegie Mellon University
1995 “Crafting Character in an Uncertain World, or Honor Among Thieves” Thomas Farrell, Department of Communication Studies, Northwestern University
1996 “Communication and Negotiation: The Public as a Web of Organizational Relationships” Linda Putnam, Department of Communication, Texas A&M University
1997 “Contested Visions: Categories as Situated Practices in the Workplace and in the Rodney King Trial” Charles Goodwin, Applied Linguistics, UCLA
1998 “Developing Dialogic Conversations” W. Barnett Pearce, Fielding Institute
1999(Mar.) “The End of the American Presidency” Roderick P. Hart, Shivers Chair in Communication and Professor of Government, University of Texas- Austin
1999(Oct.) “’What did you do in the war, Daddy’? The War on Youth and the Culture of Politics” Lawrence Grossberg, Department of Communication Studies, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
2000 “The Fragile Community: Communication and Community Building in an AIDS Residence” Larry Frey, Department of Communication, University of Memphis
2001 “Talking Psychology: A Princess, a Short Skirt and a Wal-Mart Bag” Jonathan Potter, Professor of Discourse Analysis, Department of Social Sciences, Loughborough University (UK)
2002 “The Problem of Media and Conversation” John D. Peters, Department of Communication Studies, University of Iowa
2003 Not Held Not Held
2004 “Turning Away from the Magician’s Hand: The ‘Dark Matter’ of the Law and Public Discourse” Sandra Braman, Department of Communication, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
2005 “The Political as Personal: Testimonial Rhetoric in Israeli Discourses of Dissent” Tamar Katriel, Department of Communication, University of Haifa (Israel)
2006 “Who Will get Hurt? Katrina, Global Warming, and the Need to Talk Honestly about Environmental Dangers” J. Robert Cox, Department of Communication Studies, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
2007 “The Frontiers of Deliberative Theory and Practice” John Gastil, Department of Communication, University of Washington
2008 (Spring) “Who is My Neighbor? Toward Ending the Injustice of Homelessness” Phillip K. Tompkins, Professor Emeritus of Communication, University of Colorado-Boulder
2008 (Fall) “Is There a Culture of Public Frankness?” Michael S. Schudson, Department of Communication, University of California, San Diego
2009 Not Held Not Held
2010 “The Challenge of Democratic Deliberation: Integrating Public Participation with Multi-Stakeholder Negotiations” John Forester, Professor, Department of City and Regional Planning, Cornell University
2011 “An Anthropology of Democracy: Thinking Freedom: Right, Left” Ralph Cintron, Professor of English and Latin American Studies, University of Illinois at Chicago
2012 ”Triage and Sense-making in an Urban Emergency Room” Eric M. Eisenberg, Department of Communication, University of South Florida
2013 ”‘In Vivo’: Kids, Chemical Safety, and the Limits of the Posthuman” Phaedra C. Pezzullo, Department of Communication, Indiana University
2014 “In The Age of Communication Visibility: How Work Changes When People Can See What We Say and to Whom We Say It” Paul Leonardi, Professor of Organizational Change in the School of Communication, Northwestern University
2015 (Spring) "Friendship and Romance: Silence, Stories, and Secrets in Four Cultures"
Watch Video on Vimeo
Kristine L. Muñoz, Professor of Communication Studies at the University of Iowa
2015 (Fall) "In the Shadow of LBJ: Rethinking Presidents' Rhetorical Influence" Vanessa Beasley, Associate Professor of Communication Studies and Dean of the Martha Rivers Ingram Commons at Vanderbilt University

"The Civilization of Clashes: Difficult Conversation and Sacred Value"
Listen to the presentation on Vimeo

Don Ellis, Professor in the School of Communication at the University of Hartford