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Religious Communication Association

RCA History

The antecedents of RCA begin in 1954 when the Speech Association of America (founded in 1914 as the National Association of Academic Teachers of Public Speaking) revised its constitution to create more than 20 independent divisions that reflected areas of professional practice and speech pedagogy. Among the professional divisions was Speech for Religious Workers. Then in 1970 SAA adopted a new name, the Speech Communication Association, and a new constitution which pared the number of divisions to nine and organized them according to academic specializations rather than professional and pedagogical practice. Members of the former Speech for Religious Workers division organized Religious Speech Communication in 1974 as a separate organization allied to SCA. Finally, after SCA changed its name in 1998 to the National Communication Association, the religious speech organization adopted its present name of Religious Communication Association.*

Presidents of Speech for Religious Workers: 1956 Charles McGlon, Louisville Baptist Theological Seminary; 1957 P. Merville Larson, Texas Technical College (Lubbock); 1958 Lionel Crocker, Denison University; 1959 John Rudin, Duke University Divinity School; 1960 Lowell McCoy, Hebrew Union College; 1961 DeWitte Holland, Hardin Simmons University; 1962 Al Edyvean, Christian Theological Seminary; 1963 Roy Umble, Goshen College; 1964-65 William Thompson, Eastern Baptist Theological Seminar; 1966 R. Clyde Yarbrough, University of Dubuque Theological Seminary; 1967 Pastor Lawrence Lacour, First Methodist Church of Colorado Springs, Colorado; 1968 Winton Beaven, Kettering College; 1969 Alvin Brightbill, Bethany Theological Seminary; 1970 Harold Brack, Drew Theological Seminary; 1971 William Bos, Eastern Michigan University; 1972-74 Reorganization led by Charles Bartow, DeWitte Holland, and Leroy Kennel.

Presidents of Religious Speech Communication: 1975 Leroy Kennel, Bethany Theological Seminary; 1976 DeWitte Holland, Lamar University; 1977 Morris Womack, Pepperdine University; 1978 Marvin Dirks, Eastern Nazarene College; 1979 David McCants, Indiana-Purdue University at Fort Wayne; 1980 Em Griffin, Wheaton College; 1981 Carolyn Keefe, Westchester State University; 1982 James Wallace, Mount St Alphonsus Theological Seminary; 1983 John Braun, Gustavus Adolphus College; 1984 Florence Wolff, University of Dayton; 1985 William Thompson, Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary; 1986 David Kale, Olivet Nazarene College; 1987 Charles Bartow, San Francisco Theological Seminary; 1988 Michael Lewis, Abilene Christian University; 1989 Judith Burns, Fuller Theological Seminary; 1990 Robert Chamberlain, Seattle Pacific University; 1991 Robert Friedenberg, Miami University; 1992 Quentin Schultze, Calvin College; 1993 Todd Lewis, Biola University; 1994 Dawyne Van Rheenen, Pepperdine University; 1995 Mark Fackler, Wheaton College; 1996 Michael Graves, Regent University; 1997 Carrie Perice, Azusa Pacific University; 1998 Helen Sterk, Marquette University.

Presidents of Religious Communication Association: 1999 Kim Phipps, Malone College; 2000 John Pauley, St Mary's University; 2001 Ken Chase, Wheaton College; 2002 Ron Arnett, Duquesne University; 2003 David Klope, Mount Mercy College; 2004 Annalee Ward, Trinity Christian College; 2005 Thomas Lessl, University of Georgia; 2006 Paul Soukup, Santa Clara University; 2007 Kevin Jones, Chapman University; 2008 Calvin Troup, Duquesne University; 2009 Janie Harden Fritz, Duquesne University; 2010 Robert Woods Jr, Spring Arbor University; 2011 Rodney Reynolds, Azusa Pacific University; 2012 Kathleen Edelmayer, Madonna University; 2013 Matthew Melton, Lee University; 2014 Mark Williams, California State University, Stanislaus; 2015 Kristen Lynn Majocha, University of Pittsburgh, Johnstown; 2016 Denise Ferguson, Pepperdine University; 2017 Mark Allan Steiner, Christopher Newport University; 2018 Joel Ward, Geneva College; 2019 Adrienne Hacker Daniels, Illinois College; 2020 Joy Qualls, Biola University; 2021 Daniel Brown Jr, Independent Scholar; 2022 Andrew Harris, Cedarville University; 2023 Anthony Wachs, Duquesne University.

*Information on the history of NCA is taken from Gehrke, P. J., & Keith, W. M. (2015). Introduction: A brief history of the National Communication Association. In P. J. Gehrke & W. M. Keith (Eds.), A century of communication studies: The unfinished conversation (pp. 1-25). New York, NY: Routledge.