Garth Pauley '93

Rhetorically Speaking

By Donna Parker

Garth Pauley, who received his bachelor’s degree in speech communication from Trinity in 1993, is doing exactly what he envisioned while still a college student.  Garth, who later earned a doctorate, is associate professor of rhetoric at Calvin College in Michigan and teaches American oratory.

“By the time I was a senior, I knew I wanted to attend graduate school and teach at a liberal arts college,” says Garth.  “And college life continues to be filled with pleasant surprises.”

“This was really my first job out of grad school.  At Trinity, I started off as an economics major, but then took speech and drama courses and really got excited about studying public speaking.”

Garth earned his Ph.D. from Penn State and is a past recipient of a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Communication Association's Karl Wallace Memorial Award.

“I got the letter in the mail from them and it was extremely exciting,” says Garth.  “The Endowment publishes the recipients’ names, so I heard from many friends and colleagues, which was very nice.”

“Thinking back to Trinity, I am fortunate to have received a liberal arts education from dedicated professors like Charles Boyer, department of music, and Moya Ball, department of speech and drama.  Moya was influential in shaping me to become a professor and do research.  One of her classes required researching in the archives of the LBJ Library in Austin and that really set the stage for my love of research.”

So much so that Garth wrote and published a book titled, The Modern Presidency & Civil Rights.

“This required extensive research on the 1963 march on Washington.  Prior to the book, I had used elements of that research in articles that I’d written.  Now I’m working on a broader project, still in progress.”

Garth, who is married and the father of two young children, does take some time off from lecturing and writing.  He is an avid jazz enthusiast and loves to hike with his family, having spent part of the summer on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

“My wife, Kathi Groenendyk, sons Sean and Liam, and I hiked and camped near a waterfall, even canoeing out to a small island.  Truly, I’m most proud of being a parent.  Even with my stressful, active professional life, it is the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done.”

You may e-mail Garth at gpauley@calvin.edu.