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Zumkehr Professor Raymie McKerrow focuses on critical analysis

Jan 29, 2013

Dr. Raymie McKerrow, of the School of Communication Studies, was named the Zumkehr Professor of Speech Communication in 2009. / Photos by Megan Westervelt

Zumkehr Professor Raymie McKerrow focuses on critical analysis

By Kerry Tuttle

ATHENS, Ohio (Jan. 29, 2013)—Raymie McKerrow, the Zumkehr Professor of Speech Communication in the School of Communication Studies, is focused on teaching his students to critically analyze the world around them as they are interacting with it, while also using his professorship to provide resources that help students further their academic endeavors.

“The thing that I’m probably proudest of is that I can take [Zumkehr Professorship] money and apply it toward undergraduates, which is one of the arguments I made in terms of what I thought we needed to have available to us in the department,” McKerrow said. 

This past fall, McKerrow provided funding for five students to attend the National Communication Association Convention in Orlando, Fla.  He also funded travel opportunities for editorial assistants at the Quarterly Journal of Speech, a prestigious academic journal for the study of rhetoric where he serves as the current editor. It’s this kind of support and availability of resources made possible by the Zumkehr Professorship that give McKerrow the greatest personal gratification by allowing him to go above and beyond what the Communication department or the Journal can provide.

“As the Zumkehr Professor, Dr. McKerrow has selflessly supported dozens of undergraduate and graduate students over the past four years by contributing funds so that they might attend state, regional and national conferences to share their research,” said Jerry Miller, Interim Director of the School of Communication Studies. “Students who have earned the right to attend these conferences often discover that the cost of attendance is certainly burdensome, if not completely prohibitive. Dr. McKerrow’s generous spirit and professional dedication certainly embody the qualities of the Zumkehr Professor.” 

The Charles E. Zumkehr Professorship of Speech Communication was endowed in honor of Charlez E. Zumkehr, who graduated from Ohio University in 1961 from the College of Arts and Sciences with a degree in History and Government. Zumkehr then went on to get his Juris Doctor Degree from Case Western Reserve University in 1964. He is a retired partner from Roetzel & Andress who was named to numerous editions of The Best Lawyers in America. The professorship was endowed by Zumkehr to help a communication studies scholar to teach and maintain scholarly pursuits that emphasize the role of communication in creating, maintaining and changing public culture.

“Endowed professorships, like the Zumkher Professorship, provide an important strategic resource for the College as we attempt to enrich the work of our faculty,” said Scott Titsworth, Dean of Scripps College of Communication. “The resources provided by the professorships allow recipients to engage in scholarly work at a very high level, while also freeing up resources that benefit other faculty. I am also proud that our named professors have explicitly looked for ways to leverage their funds to support collaborative work with students. Sum total, these resources help us accomplish multiple objectives at the very center of the Scripps College's mission.”

The professorship has provided McKerrow with much needed support in the areas of research, time and freedom to attend important engagements. These engagements include a recent trip to Copenhagen, Denmark, where he was actively involved in creating the Rhetoric Society of Europe, as well as a trip to Washington, D.C., where he was able to complete a week’s worth of research at the Library of Congress. It is with this extra time that he is able to advance his own work, process manuscripts for the Quarterly Journal of Speech and make international connections.

“The department has been very good to me, and the Zumkehr Professorship has allowed me to focus on the Journal because I wasn’t teaching so much,” McKerrow said. 

The Zumkehr Professorship is a three-year appointment that McKerrow was first awarded in 2009. His appointment has been extended through the 2014-2015 academic year.

“I’ve published about twelve essays and forwards to books that I’ve been asked to write an introduction to (during the first appointment,)” said McKerrow, “and I imagine I will continue to do that kind of work.”

Dr. McKerrow has authored and co-authored an impressive amount of articles with more than 70 being published in professional journals. He is also the editor or co-editor of 18 books, conference proceedings and instruction manuals. McKerrow holds many honors and awards, but the most recent significant honor was in November 2009, when he received the Lifetime Achievement Award in the Critical and Cultural Studies Division from the National Communication Association.

To learn more about Raymie McKerrow, visit