For the past five years, one doctoral candidate from the Department of Communication Studies has been awarded the Patricia Kearney Doctoral Teaching Award each spring. The distinction was created by department chair, Matt Martin, as a tribute to the career of West Virginia University alumna Patricia Kearney.

Now, a $25,000 gift from Kearney means the award will continue to celebrate outstanding graduate teaching assistants for generations to come.

Kearney, a resident of Seal Beach, Calif., earned her doctorate of education at WVU in 1979. Her thesis centered on communication in instruction and the power a teacher has to shape classroom behavior through appropriate communication. Her dedication to this topic has continued throughout her career and become her hallmark.

“Pat is an outstanding teacher and mentor. She demonstrates all the qualities one would desire in a professor. It is quite the honor for any of our students to receive the Patricia Kearney Outstanding Teaching Award,” Martin said. “Her research in instructional communication is considered to be seminal work in our discipline.”

Throughout her 34-year career, Kearney received awards for her scholarship and spoke at numerous conferences. She also served for three years as the editor of Communication Education, one of the premier journals in the communication studies discipline. She has recently retired from California State University, Long Beach.

This contribution was made in conjunction with A State of Minds: The Campaign for West Virginia’s University. The $750 million comprehensive campaign, which is being conducted by the WVU Foundation on behalf of the University, runs through December 2015.

For further information on the comprehensive campaign, please visit or

For more information, contact Associate Director of Development Amanda Dymacek at 304-293-9251 or



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