CU Director Honored by International Communicators

by Public Relations Office

Cedarville, Ohio—Cedarville University`s Roger Overturf, director of public relations, was honored recently as the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) 2005 Communication Leader of the Year. The award annually recognizes an individual who excels in four key areas of communication leadership and professionalism: career experience, communication voluntarism, professional development, and ethical practices. Speaking at IABC-Dayton`s Bronze Quill Awards Banquet on June 23, Overturf explained his views on how communication leadership relates to the "Envision, Communicate, Connect" theme of IABC`s Dayton chapter. "‘Envision` means creating a sense of purpose," he noted. "Proverbs tells us that ‘Where there is no vision, the people perish.` One way to translate that passage is ‘Without direction, chaos ensues.` So, casting a vision is a way to bring order and purpose out of meaninglessness and chaos. "Communicating," he continued, "refers to the importance of articulating that vision. Without clear, consistent articulation, there really is no vision." "But, neither creating nor communicating a vision is the end," he concluded. "Both are means to an end: Connecting means applying the organizational or institutional vision to make a difference in others` lives. This is the end we all seek, because the differences we make in others` lives are the only things that will outlive us." Regarding communication ethics, Overturf emphasized the importance of honest, candid, and timely communication and a free flow of essential information in accord with the public interest. He said that he has tried to serve his bosses and his audiences as a "truth-teller." He emphasized that honesty and candidness are imperative for organizational excellence. Overturf, who has worked at Cedarville University since 1997, served as a military public affairs officer for nearly 20 years in assignments ranging from base-level public information duties in peacetime to directing an international press center in a combat zone. He also spent eight years teaching, both at the University of Notre Dame and at the Defense Information School (the Defense Department`s public affairs training house). Overturf is heavily involved in professional organizations in addition to the IABC, including the Air Force Public Affairs Alumni Association, the Southwestern Ohio Council for Higher Education`s public relations advisory committee, the Miami Valley Military Affairs Association, and the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA). His community involvement includes membership in the Xenia Kiwanis club and service as a member of the Beavercreek Planning Commission. A Beavercreek resident, Overturf is a graduate of Cedarville University and holds a master`s degree from Central Michigan University. He is a doctoral candidate at Trinity Theological Seminary. -30-