by Marcia Napier, Grain Valley Historical Society
While perhaps not a “household” name, Steven A. Beebe is known worldwide in “communications” circles. Steven, Muriel and Russell Beebe’s third of five children, was born September 19, 1950. He grew up on his family’s farm on Little Road, north of Grain Valley; attended Grain Valley schools K-12 and graduated from GVHS is 1968.
After graduation, Steven attended Central Missouri State College which became Central Missouri State University in 1972, the year he obtained his B.S. Ed in Communications. He continued his studies there and receive a Masters of Arts before moving on to the University of Missouri in Columbia where he completed his Doctorate of Philosophy. In 1975 he received an Outstanding Teaching Award at Mizzou and in 1976 he was recognized for Scholastic Achievement (Perfect 4.0 Grade Point Average on all graduate course work) at the University.
Dr. Beebe was a tenured member of the communication faculty at the University of Miami for 10 years prior to joining the faculty at Texas State University in 1990. There he has served as chair of the Department of Communication Studies for 29 years and concurrently as associate dean of the College of Fine Arts and Communication for 26 years.
He has been a visiting scholar at both Oxford and Cambridge Universities and was elected a permanent member of the Common Room of Wolfson College, Oxford University.
Other leadership roles for Beebe include serving as president of the National Communication Association, the largest professional communication association in the world, founding member of the Russian Communication Association and co-director of the first Russian Communication Association conference held in Pyatigorsk, Russia.
He has also served as president of the Florida Communication Association.
Dr. Beebe is considered an authority on C. S. Lewis. He made international headlines when he discovered a manuscript written by Lewis that was the partial opening chapter of a book that was to be co-authored with J. R. R. Tolkien about communication (Language and Human Nature. ) while examining Lewis' documents in the Oxford University Bodleian Library. In 2016 he discovered an unknown poem by Lewis.
He is author and co-author of 12 books and more than 55 articles and book chapters, plus more than 160 papers and presentations at professional conferences. Steve’s research, with a focus on instructional communication and skill development, has appeared in such journals as Communication Education, Human Communication, Communication Research Reports and several Russian academic journals.
His alma mater, the University of Central Missouri, named him a Distinguished Alumni in 2010 and the National Speaker’s Association has named him Outstanding Communication Professor in America. In 2003, he and his wife, Susan J. Beebe, set up a scholarship at their alma mater, the University of Central Missouri, for communication students who are also involved in the forensics program.
Dr. Beebe is a member of the Grain Valley Education Foundation. If you wish to know more about Steve, just Google him. In this short article I’ve only had space to mention a few of the many honor and awards he has received over the past 40 years.