Speech: Dr. David Dozier, 2019 Educator Honoree

Dr. Kaye Sweetser: There are a few things that could pull me away from Southern California to bring me to Chicago in November, but I’m very excited to say that recognizing my friend and mentor, Dr. David Dozier is definitely at the top of that list. I’m Dr. Kaye Sweetser and I’m here to talk about the most selfless and generous giving colleague with whom I have ever worked. When most people think of mentoring, they think of hat young practitioner, doe eyed and do we ready to jump headfirst into the profession. And then you think of the senior practitioner who’s off on the sidelines saying, “Don’t go ahead first, he’ll hurt your face.” But that definition of mentoring is really, really slim and it really leaves a lot out. What I love about the way that Dave mentors is that he mentors his peers. Sure, he helps newbies because that’s what he has, is a lot of amazing new people around him, but he doesn’t see the people that are in the office next to him as competition. He knows that we can all succeed and there’s room for all of us to do amazing things. He never has to cut someone down or step over someone in order to stand out. He’s a quantoid, so he knows that there are definitely strength in numbers. Some call it collegiality, but it’s so much more than collegiality. Of course, Dave is collegial, but he’s relentless in creating opportunities for his peers.

He is selfless and generous with his time. He takes his vast experience and his brilliance… did I mentioned he went to Berkeley and he’s a Stanford man? And he helps you think through creative solutions to the challenges that you face. And he’s frank, that’s really something that sometimes we all need. Looking back at Dave’s career, I see that all of this really started to take root when he came to San Diego State University. He and the late Dr. Glenn Broom together arrived around the early ’80s and they never competed with one another. They were on that rat race, young professors [inaudible 00:37:59], but they worked together in order to make amazing things happen and to build a program. That style of peer mentoring is something that was unique then and it’s unique now, and that culture that Glenn and Dave created together remains with us today.

And so this is what Dave is like as a colleague: he’ll stop by your office, he’ll make lunch plans with you sometimes he’ll buy. He’ll ask you how your research is going and he’ll offer to help. He’ll ask you how your life is going and he’ll offer you his friendship. And what a friend? If you look through Dave’s Rolodex, which come on, of course he has a Rolodex, you will see that he has the who’s who of mass communication researchers, alongside the most prominent public relations practitioners listed in there. We’re talking CEOs of major agencies, vice presidents of corporate 100 organizations, Navy admirals, and me. And he never makes you feel like you don’t belong in that group. He tells you that you’re part of that group and you lead that group. That you deserve the time that he so generously gives to you. I’ve personally benefited from many multi hour phone calls from Dave, where he’s giving me rudder guidance in trying to navigate University politics, where I get email replies from him that he says, “Hey, why don’t you just send me that data set? I’ll take a look at it.”

David M. Dozier stands out because he’s always extending a hand to his peers, to the newbies, to everyone around him. This man is very commonly known for his 11,000 plus citations to his amazing scholarship, but when I think of him, I think of the friend that is always there when I call and say, “Do you have a sec to talk?” So I’d like to welcome my friend and mentor David Dozier to the stage. [crosstalk 00:40:16]

Dr. David Dozier: Thank you. And I want to thank The Plank Center for the honor of being here and I want to also thank Bruce Berger. He’s a friend and a colleague and he established this award and I understand he had to twist a lot of arms to see that I got it. So thanks, Bruce to your checks in the mail. It’s a bit egotistical to think that Kaye Sweetser really needed any mentoring when she arrived at San Diego State to teach public relations and do research. She’d already been tenured at the University of Georgia and she gave up tenure to move to San Diego. Now, perhaps you’ve heard that it said that politics is local and nothing is more political than being a non tenured professor. And so together Kaye and I navigated the occasionally choppy waters at San Diego State, but the story does have a happy ending, stinky, stinky cloud over Kaye’s head finally blew away. Now Kaye didn’t say stinky because, as you may know, she’s a sailor and she talks like one. So it was something similar to stinky, but not quite.

So just as I was retiring, Professor Sweetser was promoted to full professor and granted tenure. And if I had a horse, I would have ridden it into the sunset knowing that all is well in public relations at San Diego State University. I believe that mentoring is a game where we all should pay it forward. I had the distinct privilege of having the late Glenn Broom serve as my mentor for nearly 40 years. For that, I’m extremely grateful. I don’t feel that Kaye owes me a favor, but if Kaye wants to, I urge you to pay it forward. Because Kaye you have colleagues who will achieve excellence with your help, just as you have achieved excellence. Thank you, Glenn. Thank you, Kaye.