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WFU hosts lecture to address impact of presidential rhetoric in elections


October 13, 2008

“During the campaign, voters listen to the candidates’ messages for all sort of clues about what kind of president that person might be,” said Vanessa Beasley, professor of public address and presidential rhetoric at Vanderbilt University.  “But, what happens after the president is elected?  What is the importance of presidential rhetoric then, and who is its intended audience?”

These and other questions about the impact and role of presidential rhetoric in the upcoming election will be addressed by Beasley at a lecture organized by Wake Forest University communication students at 4 p.m. Oct. 21.  Titled “Why Presidential Rhetoric Matters,” the lecture is part of Wake Forest’s Great Teacher Lecture Series.  It will be held in Annenberg Forum, Carswell Hall, Room 111.  A reception will follow the lecture.  Both the lecture and reception are free and open to the public. 

According to Beasley, U.S. presidents are not required by law to communicate directly to the American people, yet during the 20th century, they were required to “go public” for both political and cultural reasons.  Today, rhetoric and persuasion have become the norm in political races.  She will address whether that is still important today in its current form.

Beasley is the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including Outstanding New Teacher in the South States Communication Association.  She is the author of two books and is nationally recognized in the field of communication for her work on presidential rhetoric.

The Great Teachers Lecture Series is an annual series organized by Wake Forest communication students enrolled in the course “Great Teachers” taught by Alessandra Beasley Von Burg, assistant professor of communication.  In the course, students conduct in-depth study on and interact with some of the nation’s top scholars and gain public relations experience.  Beasley will be a guest professor for the course prior to the lecture.

Press Contacts:

Pam Barrett
(336) 758-5237


Kevin Cox
(336) 758-5237


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