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Scripps’ Anita James to bid farewell to OHIO after 35 years of service

Apr 25, 2013

Dr. Anita James, back center, is celebrated by former and current Scripps College of Communication faculty and staff at a retirement reception in her honor on April 18. / Photos by Megan Westervelt

Scripps College's Anita James to bid farewell to OHIO after 35 years of service


By Kerry Tuttle and Erin Roberts

ATHENS, Ohio (April 25, 2013)—Dr. Anita James, the Interim Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Programs and Services, will be retiring this spring after spending 35 years at Ohio University. She was honored at a reception Thursday, April 18, in the 1804 Lounge of Baker Center.

“My time at Ohio University has comprised the majority of my professional academic career. I did not expect to stay at OU for more than 10 years, but I fell in love with the school and the area and stayed,” said Dr. James.

She began her journey at Ohio University in 1978 as an assistant professor and director of forensics in the School of Interpersonal Communication, now known as the School of Communication Studies.  From 1985 through 1988, Dr. James was the first coordinator for professional development at Ohio University, providing training and development activities for all faculty, staff and administrators. In 1991, she took on the role as the internship director for the School of Interpersonal Communication and served for eight years. From 2002-2010, Dr. James was the associate director of undergraduate studies in the School of Communication Studies.

Dr. Jerry Miller, the school’s interim director, thanked James for her service and read from an email from alumnus John A. Cassese, BSC '76, MA '79, who served as an assistant coach on the forensics team during his time in the school’s graduate program. Cassese wrote about how he was always calmed to think of Dr. James still living and teaching at Ohio University and of how lucky the many students are that were influenced by her tenure.

“It was my lucky day to have met you and to work with you on the forensics team,” Cassese wrote. “How lucky for me, I was in the right place at the right time. I am sad that incoming students will not have the Dr. Anita James experience.”

Dr. James, who said she is retiring in part to make room for younger faculty and fresh ideas, became emotional while recalling the many people at Ohio University “that made the difference” and helped her to decide to settle in Athens for most of her career.

“I will miss the daily interactions with my colleagues and working with the terrific students in the Scripps College of Communication,” said Dr. James.

During her tenure at Ohio University, Dr. James guided 23 students to the completion of their doctoral degrees, served as a faculty senator and spent more than 25 years on the University Curriculum Council. Dr. James is a member of the American Society for Training and Development, and a life member of the International Communication Association, the American Forensic Association and the National Communication Association.

Upon retirement, she plans to stay in Athens, teach as part of the Early Retirement Program and spend more time on volunteer activities, such as Women Raise the Roof.