ST. CLOUD -- St. Cloud State University gathered Thursday to dedicate the Judy C. Pearson Department of Communication Studies. The university's first named department honors teacher, author, and speaker Judy Pearson.

The Pipestone native graduated from SCSU with a bachelor’s degree in speech/theater, earned her master’s degree at Indiana, and her Ph.D. at Ohio University. She has authored over 30 books and twice as many published research papers. She has taught at seven universities, ending her teaching career as the chair of the communication department at North Dakota State University. A skilled speaker, she is often a keynote speaker at various conferences, mainly speaking on the communication of relationship maintenance.

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Dr. Jeffrey Ringer speaks at the dedication of the Judy C. Pearson Department of Communication Studies - Jeff McMahon, WJON
Dr. Jeffrey Ringer speaks at the dedication of the Judy C. Pearson Department of Communication Studies - Jeff McMahon, WJON

Dr. Jeffrey Ringer, a current communication professor and former department chair at SCSU, worked with Pearson on several occasions.

We wrote books together, conducted research together, and published them together. And here we are 38 years later, working together again on yet another important project. Judy credits our department with motivating her to pursue the graduate education that led to her success in the field. She says SCSU made a difference in her life. Now, through her gift to the department, she will make a difference in our students’ lives year after year after year. It has already made a difference. Over $14,000 have already been awarded to students in the form of scholarships so students will soon attend the National Communication Association Conference in New Orleans with all expenses paid.

SCSU President Dr. Robbyn Wacker presided over the unveiling of the university's first named department.

We are deeply grateful for your generous gift that strengthens the academic department and benefits students and faculty development through scholarships, grants, and other forms of enhancement now, and in the future. We are honored by your pride in St. Cloud State and your desire to support our exceptional University.

Judy Pearson spoke about her time at the university, and how it shaped her life moving forward.

SDSU students in the 1960s balanced hard work with joyous play. Those of us here in the 60s did a lot of marching and debating and considering what was happening in the world. We weren't scrappy, but we were willing to fight if the situation called for it. Every time I come back to St. Cloud, I get that same feeling that these are people who are willing to fight if they have a good cause, or something important, but they don't do that out of necessity or out of frustration. So our communication skills here allowed us to be both instrumental and expressive.

Pearson’s gift will help faculty development, as well as provide scholarships, grants, and opportunities for students to travel to academic conferences.

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