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02/27/2013

CSCA - In Memoriam - Dr. Jimmie D. Trent

CSCA - In Memoriam

Distinguished Professor Jimmie D. Trent
Miami University (Oxford, OH)

Dr. Jimmie D. Trent, Professor Emeritus from the Department of Communication at Miami University (Oxford, OH) passed away on February 20, 2013. Born in Lima, OK on November 17, 1933, he graduated from Haven (Kansas) High School in 1951. He attended Hutchinson Junior College before receiving his undergraduate (l955) and master's degrees (1959) from Kansas State Teacher's College in Emporia. He was a nationally recognized debater and debate coach and a member of Phi Kappa Phi, Kappa Delta Pi (Special Distinction), and Delta Sigma Rho-Tau Kapppa Alpha (Honorary). Jimmie joined the faculty at Eastern Illinois University before beginning his doctoral study at Purdue University, where he earned his Ph.D. in 1966. In 1964, he joined the faculty in the Department of Speech at Wayne State University where he also served as an Assistant Dean in Liberal Arts and department's Graduate Director. While at Wayne State, he married Juddi, his wife of 43 years. In 1971, Jimmie came to Miami University in Oxford, Ohio as professor and Chair of the (then) Department of the Speech and Theatre (now the Department of Communication). He spent 10 years as Chair, many years as Assistant Chair for the Speech Communication area, and a total of 28 years at Miami as a teacher and scholar before his retirement.

Jimmie was the author, co-author, editor, and co-editor of many journal articles, conference papers, and the books Concepts in Communication and Winning Orations. His research focused on argumentation - particularly in political contexts - and communication pedagogy (partially in the role of public relations in Communication education). His most recent scholarly activity focused on the characteristics of the ideal presidential candidate. He served as the president of the Ohio Communication Association and the Executive Director of the Interstate Oratorical Association.

Jimmie made many important contributions to the Miami and Oxford communities. He was a dedicated educator, teaching classes in Interpersonal Communication, Theory of Argument, Argumentation and Debate, and Public Speaking (among many others). In particular, he provided many students an introduction to Communication Theory at both the undergraduate and M.A. levels. Based on Jimmie's tutelage in metatheory, generations of Miami students went on to attend, and thrive in, quality doctoral programs. Many were the days when he would spend considerable time with students explaining the complexities and intricacies of the topic de jour.

Jimmie was also a wonderful colleague. There are so many things that he did that don't appear on a CV. He always had a smile on his face and loved where he worked and what he did there. He helped to create a supportive academic environment where young teacher-scholars could hone their skills. We fondly remember his annual appearance as Santa Claus at University events and the Trents' year-opening pool parties at their home. His colleagues from around the university (especially administrators he disagreed with) can likely recall his forceful arguments made at college and university faculty meetings (born, no doubt, from his forensic training and teaching). He remained a strong supporter of intercollegiate forensics throughout his time at Miami.

Jimmie was an avid international traveler, particularly enjoying numerous trips throughout Europe and over 20 years wintering in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. A wine enthusiast, he enjoyed the company of his many friends at a variety of events at Miami, in Oxford, and in Cincinnati. He was devoted to his family showing unconditional love and support at all times. He will be forever missed by his wife, Juddi, with whom he shared 43 loving and committed years, as well as his three children; Douglas Brian Trent of Belo Horizonte, MG Brazil, Lawrence (Larry) Andrew Trent of Oxford, Terri Lynn Haines of Topeka, KS.

A gathering of family and friends will take place at a later date at the Trent home in Oxford.

A memorial fund has been established in honor of Jimmie at the Miami University Foundation to provide research and academic travel funds for faculty and students in the Department of Communication. Contributions may be made to the Miami University Foundation (Miami University Foundation, 725 E. Chestnut Street, Oxford, Ohio 45056).

Respectfully submitted by Paul Mongeau (Arizona State University) and Jerold Hale (University of Michigan-Dearborn).


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