President's Message


I want to thank each and every one of you who participated in the 110th Annual Eastern Communication Association (ECA) convention in Providence, RI from April 10 – 14, 2019. Our membership drives an amazing conference each year and this year was no exception. You made our conference great with many competitive paper panels, expert panels, roundtables and poster presentations.

Thank you, again, for allowing me to plan our 2019 conference. The work of planning a conference begins about two years prior to the actual conference. It transitions from a marathon to a sprint during the final months. It is all-consuming at some points. Regardless of the intensity of the work and level of detailed planning it takes to create a conference, it is immensely rewarding to provide an enriching experience for your peers and our students. Planning the conference is service in the truest sense! defines service as “the action of helping or doing work for someone.” When you serve, it is for the benefit of others. I believe that our lives are made greater by doing something for others. I encourage all of you to consider serving in a leadership role with ECA in the near or distant future!

In addition to the work our membership did to drive an amazing conference, many people served in key leadership roles to showcase the work of our membership and facilitate professional development. Some highlights of the convention were the keynote address given by Dr. Melanie Booth-Butterfield and Dr. Mark L. Hickson, III who provided essential knowledge for building a successful career. Dr. Sara Weintraub and Dr. Candice Thomas-Maddox planned a meaningful and enriching Basic Course Conference featuring Dr. Timothy P. Mottet as the keynote speaker. Dr. Jennifer Waldeck planned a number of Community Impact sessions to demonstrate how we can serve our communities with our knowledge and skillset. Dr. Julie Volkman served as our 2nd VP of Local Arrangements making our experience in Providence smooth and fun. The work she and her students did on behalf of ECA was invaluable. Also serving as a 2nd VP, Dr. Mary Toale provided endless support during the planning of the conference and ensured that we had a phenomenal printed program to facilitate a great conference for individuals to seek sessions of interest. I do hope everyone knew where to go and when to be there! Dr. Sara Labelle served as Director of Short Courses for the conference to make sure we had many opportunities to learn from our peers. Dr. Jordan Atkinson, Dr. Meredith Marko Harrigan, and Dr. Atsushi Tajima planned excellent poster sessions to allow our undergraduates and graduates to show off their work and gain treasured feedback from our membership. Dr. Kelly Rocca DelGaizo coordinated our sponsorships ensuring that we worked with new and long-standing supporters to raise significant funds. Her efforts allowed our supporters to raise awareness of their organizations and services and to build and maintain new and old professional relationships. Dr. Doug Strahler manages our social media year-round, but was instrumental in raising awareness of sessions and events before and during the conference while mentoring undergraduate and graduate students to complete a strategic social media campaign. Finally, my dad’s presence provided me with security and peace of mind. I was so proud that he wanted to come to the conference. He’s always there, always.

Since the conference, we have been very busy! Dr. Jennifer Waldeck has been working closely with Attendee Interactive to improve upon our experience with the online submission process. She is also working with Kathie Cesa on updating information on our website to reflect leadership changes and new calls. Thanks to Jennifer, submission for the 2020 conference is already open. The Site Selection Committee is working hard to identify a 2022 location. Dr. Leeanne Bell McManus and I visited two properties with reports going back to the committee as a whole. Our 2022 site should be announced soon.

            I hope you enjoy the summer months. I wish you relaxation, rewarding and efficient work, and peace. I look forward to seeing all of you in Baltimore, MD for the 111th Eastern Communication Association convention “Harboring Innovation” Wednesday, April 1 –  Sunday, April 5, 2020.

Love and peace,


Dr. Katherine S. Thweatt
State University of New York, Oswego
Graduate Director & Associate Professor of Communication
Eastern Communication Association, President