Mild to Present Annual Presidential Lecture April 6

Friday, April 01, 2011

As part of the Fairmont State University Presidential Lecture Series, Dr. Robert E. Mild, Jr. will present “Rhetoric in a Free Society: Argumentation and Education.”

The 21st annual lecture will take place at 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 6, in Multi-Media Room A of the Ruth Ann Musick Library on the main FSU campus. The Presidential Lecture Series was established in 1989 to provide faculty the opportunity to share their work with colleagues and members of the community. A reception in the Library lobby will immediately follow the lecture. Admission to the event is free and open to the public.

“Rhetoric or the art of oratory was a cornerstone in the educational teachings of the earliest Sophists and this lesson is just as critical today for a society that values free speech and critical thinking,” said Mild, Professor/Senior Level: Communication. 

“This lecture will trace the elements of disputation learning from the ancient Greeks through the writings of John Stuart Mill on personal liberties and into present day examining issues of logic and reasoning. Finally, an attempt will be made to show how debate/disputation learning can be incorporated into today’s classroom.”

The lecture also holds an extra special meaning to Mild, as it is dedicated to the memory of FSU debate coach Mike Overking.

Mild joined the Fairmont State faculty in 1988. He graduated from West Virginia Wesleyan College with a B.A. in Social Sciences in 1975. He was then led by a professor to West Virginia University, from where he received an M.A. degree in Communication Studies in 1979. After graduation, Mild taught middle schools for three years, along with completing his doctoral work at the University of Pittsburgh. In 1989 he was awarded a Ph.D. in Rhetoric and Communication. Mild also taught for three years at the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls, Iowa.

Currently a faculty member at FSU in the School of Fine Arts, he was recently promoted to the rank of Professor-Senior Level. Mild serves as the faculty representative on the FSU Board of Governors and has been a member of the Curriculum Committee for 20 years, with three of those years as Chair. In addition to these duties, he coordinates the annual M.M. Neely Persuasive Speaking Contest, occasionally acts on the stage of Wallman Hall and can be heard as the entertaining public address announcer for both FSU football and basketball games. Most recently, Mild had his second workbook of communication activities published by the Oxford University Press.

Besides his academic interests, Mild has worked in mass media. While a graduate student at Pitt, he wrote and produced two cable television shows. He also has worked in radio and has done voice-overs for television commercials. In addition, he had a monthly column published in “Mountaineer Review.” A devoted fan of Pittsburgh sports teams, he also enjoys listening to old blues recordings, working crossword puzzles and cooking. Mild has two daughters, Linley and Sarah.