Today the Memorial Service for Lynda Lee Kaid, University of Florida Research Foundation Professor and Professor of Telecommunication in the Collage of Journalism and Communications, was held in Gainesville, Florida. She unexpectedly and sadly passed away on April 13, at the age of 62.
Lynda Lee Kaid, a former George Lynn Cross Research Professor at the University of Oklahoma, joined the University of Florida faculty as Senior Associate Dean for Graduate Studies and Research in 2001. Her special fields of research and teaching included political communication and political advertising. She was a recipient of a UF university-wide Outstanding Doctoral Mentoring and Advising award for 2010-2011, and in November, 2010 the National Communication Association named the annual Lynda Lee Kaid Outstanding Dissertation in Political Communication award in her honor. Last week, the Political Communication Division of the International Communication Association decided to name the Best Article of the Year Award after Lynda Lee Kaid and her mentor, Keith R. Sanders.
A three-time Fulbright Senior Scholar, Lynda Lee Kaid chaired 41 doctoral recipients, many more masters recipients, and coordinated the UVote research team, an international consortium of faculty and graduate students at 32 universities in the U.S. and 12 international universities who joined together to conduct political communication research. She promoted interdisciplinary teams of collaborative research and was committed to providing international research opportunities for doctoral students. In 2009, she received one of UF’s International Educator Awards. She received over $1.8 million in competitive grants and other funding from sources including the National Science Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Federal Election Assistance Commission, the Oklahoma Historical Society, and the Council for European Studies at Columbia University. She authored or edited over 30 books and nearly 200 refereed articles and book chapters, and was named by Communication Quarterly as one of the most productive scholars in the discipline.
A few of the many honors she received include being named a recipient of a Distinguished Alumni Award, Southern Illinois University, October, 2007, with a permanent picture/award on the Honor Wall in the Student Center; a Plaza of Heroines Permanent Brick, Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women and Politics, Iowa State University; and two commendations from the Oklahoma Legislature for achievement as a George Lynn Cross Research Professor and for the founding and activities of the Political Communication Center and the Political Commercial Archive at the University of Oklahoma. The Political Commercial Archive was designated one of “America’s Treasures” by the White House Millennium Council and the National Historic Preservation Trust in 1999.
The passing away of Lynda Lee Kaid was a tragic loss, first and foremost to her husband since 37 years, Cliff Jones. It was also a tragic loss for the field of political communication research and for the many friends, colleagues, and students she has worked with and mentored over the years. Having known and worked with Lynda since 2003-2004, I know not only how productive and great she was as a scholar, but also how supportive, encouraging, warm and dedicated she was as an individual and as a mentor to countless students and colleagues. She is and will be missed by many, as shown by today’s Memorial Service.
The last time I spoke with Lynda via email was just a few days before she passed away. We were at the proof reading stage of our next book, and discussed some issues related to that. And although I wish we had talked about something more important than proof reading the last time we spoke, there is symbolism in that we talked about books and book production. She worked into the very end, and her last book project was a collaborative project on comparative political communication.
I just wish that I had had a chance to really tell Lynda how important she was, is, and always will be, to the research field, to me personally, and to so many others! May she rest in peace, and may she always be remembered as a great scholar and mentor!