Growing up on farmland in Kansas, Dr. Donna R. Vocate attended school in a small schoolhouse and always possessed an ardor for reading. Specifically interested in journalism and investigating word construction, her teacher would bring in whatever books she wanted and that opened her eyes to speech and language. As a full-time educator, she most recently served as a professor at Arkansas Tech University from 1990 until her official retirement in 2003. She began her professional career as an assistant professor at Eastern Montana College in 1980, remaining in this position for three years before transferring to the honors department of the University of Colorado, Boulder (UCB) from 1983 to 1990. She then joined Boston University as a full professor from 1990 to 1992. In addition to this tenure, Dr. Vocate directed the UCB Young Scholars summer session from 1988 to 1993 and has served as a faculty member and research associate at the UCB Institute of Cognitive Science since 1984.
Prior to pursuing her professional career, Dr. Vocate matriculated at the University of Colorado, earning a Bachelor of Arts in 1962. She then attended the University of Denver, where she obtained a Master of Arts in 1977 and a PhD in 1980. After receiving these academic honors, she completed the management development program at Harvard University in 1999.
A prolific writer, Dr. Vocate authored two books, “The Theory of A.R. Luria” in 1987 and “Interpersonal Communications: Different Voices, Different Minds” in 1994. The latter publication is an innovative presentation on intrapersonal communication as a relatively new phenomenon for communication study, which, at the time, still lacked the grounding of a sound theoretical base. Additionally, Dr. Vocate contributed myriad articles to professional journals.
In order to keep informed of trends in her field, Dr. Vocate chaired the Speech and Language Science Division of the National Speech Communication Association from 1985 to 1986. Likewise, she chaired the Speech and Language Sciences and the International Divisions of the National Communication Association. She also maintains involvement with numerous related organizations including the International Communication Association, the Western Speech Communication Association, the American Association of University Women, and the Honors Speech Communication Association. A grantee of the President’s Committee on Research and Creative Endeavors in 1982, Dr. Vocate received a grant from the EMC Foundation and Dean’s Office the following year.