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Lynn Harter named first Schoonover Professor of Health Communication

Oct 14, 2008

Lynn Harter named first Schoonover Professor of Health Communication

ATHENS, Ohio (Oct. 14, 2008)—Lynn Harter, associate professor in the School of Communication Studies, has been selected as the first Steven and Barbara Schoonover Professor of Health Communication.

“Lynn is a well-deserving first recipient of this award,” said Claudia Hale, the school’s director. “Her work optimizes the kind of applied scholarship in the area of health communication that I think the Schoonovers were looking for when they created this professorship. She truly cares about her scholarship and making a difference in the lives of others.”

The professorship was created through an endowment provided by Steven and Barbara Schoonover, who have also pledged $7.5 million for a new building for the Scripps College of Communication. The professorship provides financial support to a Communication Studies faculty member who is involved in projects within the area of health communication.

Scripps College of Communication Dean Greg Shepherd is grateful to the Schoonovers for their gift recognizing this field of communication.

“I cannot say enough about the continuing generosity of Steve and Barbara Schoonover,” Shepherd said. “Their support has benefited every corner of the Scripps College of Communication. This named professorship is an indication of their desire to support faculty and to help fund research in an increasingly important area of study."

Shepherd is confident in Harter’s ability to make a difference with the funding.

“Professor Harter is a leading teacher and scholar of health communication,” he said. “Her work has received national recognition and funds from the Schoonover Professorship will allow her to expand her program of research and lend it increased significance.”

Harter will be using some of the funding as she continues work on a documentary with Casey Hayward, assistant professor in Media Arts and Studies, and Courtney Cole, Ph.D. student in the School of Communication Studies. The documentary focuses on pediatric cancer care and follows the work of Dr. Pete Anderson and his colleagues at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. A ten-minute clip about the project can be viewed at

“It’s a privilege and an honor to receive this award,” said Harter. “The funds that come with this award have the potential to increase the possibilities for helping people.”

Bill Rawlins, Stocker Professor of Communication Studies, spoke highly of his colleague.

“Lynn is a leading voice in the communication discipline addressing health issues and is a magnificent mentor to graduate, and undergraduate students, as well as for her colleague,” Rawlins said. “She has redefined the relationship of scholarship and service in our field with her narrative approach to caring for children with cancer and with PassionWorks. She also accomplishes all of these activities with a warm and zestful attitude towards life and other people.”

Harter also will use her funds as she continues her work with disability-related concerns; childhood mental health; organizing of health care resources for underserved populations, poverty and homelessness; and the aesthetic and spiritual dimensions of familial and communal life.

“My hope is to use resources from this scholarship to engage people in inquiry and to help people live well with their difficult life circumstances, traumas and disabilities,” said Harter. “It’s my desire to make theory answerable to life, to apply theoretical sensibilities to problems that people face.”

Harter is the School of Communication Studies third professor to be named in a professorship. She joins Rawlins, the Stocker Professor of Communication Studies, and Dan West, the John A. Cassesee Director of Forensics.

For more information on the School of Communication Studies, visit