Baylor Communication Professor Receives Awards from National Communication Association

Sept. 24, 2018
Leslie HahnerLeslie Hahner, Ph.D., associate professor of communication at Baylor University. (Robert Rogers/Baylor University)

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by Jessie Jilovec, student newswriter

WACO, Texas (Sept. 24, 2018) – Leslie Hahner, Ph.D., associate professor of communication at Baylor University, received the James A. Winans and Herbert A. Wichelns Memorial Award for Distinguished Scholarship in Rhetoric and Public Address and the Marie Hochmuth Nichols Award from the Public Address Division of the National Communication Association for her book, “To Become an American: Immigrants and Americanization Campaigns of the Early Twentieth Century.”

In her book, Hahner notes that pledging allegiance, wearing a flag pin and other gestures of patriotism are emblems that convey the devotion of American citizens. Importantly, for Hahner, these patriotic rituals were developed during the 20th century and brought to new heights due to the panic regarding national identity during World War I. She argues that, in part, the Americanization movement engendered the transformation of patriotism during this period.

Hahner said receiving these prestigious honors for her book demonstrates the benefits of living in a community of scholars at Baylor and across the nation who have supported her work as a rhetorical critic.

“At Baylor, we are called to a higher purpose, and my hope is that I can rise to that challenge,” she said. “Now, more than ever, we need to understand the basis for national belonging and how the public grasps what patriotism truly is. I hope that ‘To Become An American’ can help shape larger conversations about such crucial topics.”

The James A. Winans and Herbert A. Wichelns Memorial Award for Distinguished Scholarship in Rhetoric and Public Address is presented by NCA for scholarship and was established by students, colleagues and admirers of two professors at Cornell University. Works are nominated by individuals and presses.

The Marie Hochmuth Nichols Award recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions to the study of public address. The scholarship of Nichols concentrated on rhetorical theory and the criticism of public address. The award’s criteria include the importance of the work in extending or altering understanding of public address and/or rhetorical practice, originality, quality of research, intellectual creativity and quality of writing.

Dave Schlueter, Ph.D., professor and chair of communication in Baylor’s College of Arts and Sciences, said Hahner’s book puts her intellect, writing ability, creativity and knowledge of visual rhetoric and history on display.

"This award-winning book, coupled with her published essays in our most prestigious journals, firmly establishes Dr. Hahner as a national scholar of consequence in the areas of rhetorical criticism, visual rhetoric and public culture,” Schlueter said. “We are blessed to have her on our faculty."

Hahner’s awards will be presented in November at NCA’s 104th Annual Convention in Salt Lake City. For more information about the NCA awards program, visit the NCA website.


Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 17,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.


The College of Arts & Sciences is Baylor University’s oldest and largest academic division, consisting of 25 academic departments and seven academic centers and institutes. The more than 5,000 courses taught in the College span topics from art and theatre to religion, philosophy, sociology and the natural sciences. Faculty conduct research around the world, and research on the undergraduate and graduate level is prevalent throughout all disciplines. Visit

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