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Communications Services
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Phone: 901/678-2843
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Leroy Dorsey Named Chair of U of M Department of Communication

For release: May 13, 2011
For press information, contact Simone Notter Wilson, 901-678-4164

Dr. Leroy Dorsey
Dr. Leroy Dorsey
Dr. Leroy Dorsey has been named chair of the Department of Communication at the University of Memphis. Dorsey, who joins the U of M after 18 years at Texas A&M University, is an accomplished communication scholar and academic leader. He has been associate head of Texas A&M’s Department of Communication for the past 10 years and served as interim head of its Department of Journalism from 2001-03. Dorsey received his PhD in speech communication from Indiana University and his master’s and bachelor’s degrees from California State University, Hayward.

Dorsey’s research examines the symbols used by political figures to promote their legislative agendas, shape their identities as morally sound advocates, and transform their audiences into seemingly active agents poised to support particular agendas. He studies the public speech of the presidency, most notably the rhetoric of Theodore Roosevelt and, to a lesser extent, Woodrow Wilson, John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan. His most recent book, We Are All Americans, Pure and Simple: Theodore Roosevelt and the Myth of Americanism, examines how Roosevelt used the frontier myth of national origin to create standards for non-whites and immigrants to achieve before they could be identified as Americans. The book won the 2008 National Communication Association Marie Hochmuth Nichols Award for the top book in public address studies.

Dorsey recently began exploring the intersection of politics with popular culture and how the resulting dialogue shapes notions of race, ethnicity, and American identity.  

His research has been published in such journals as Quarterly Journal of Speech, Presidential Studies Quarterly and Rhetoric & Public Affairs. Dorsey is a contributor to African American Orators and edited The Presidency and Rhetorical Leadership. He received the 1995 Aubrey Fisher Award for outstanding article published in the Western Journal of Communication and the Association of Former Students College-level Distinguished Teaching Award in 2003 and 2010. He is a member of editorial board of Southern Communication Journal.

I look forward to helping the department continue making an impact in the community,” said Dorsey. “We will accomplish that with our research and commitment to preparing the advocates, artists, thinkers and leaders of tomorrow. Creating more outreach opportunities between the department and the Memphis community is something I hope to do. I also look forward to the inspiration that I will receive, and to the inspiration I hope to give, when I begin work with faculty and administrators.”

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