Marie Hochmuth Nichols was a faculty member in the Speech and Communication Department from 1939-1976. Her pioneering scholarship brought the work of theorists like Marshall McLuhan and Kenneth Burke to rhetorical studies, and demonstrated that the study and practice of rhetoric was a key component for creating communities and navigating change. The spirit of this work came to be known as “The Illinois Tradition” of rhetorical study. This Tradition brought many scholars and students to Illinois and continues to be a cornerstone in the history of communication scholarship. In 1969, Nichols became the president of the National Communication Association (NCA) and was the first woman to be elected by a vote of the whole membership. She was honored with the “Distinguished Service Award” by the NCA in 1976 and declared a Distinguished Scholar after she passed away.
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