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May 12, 2001


Knutson Receives UW-Rf Distinguished Alumnus Award

An internationally-recognized communications specialist has been named this yearšs Distinguished Alumnus by UW-River Falls.

Thomas J. Knutson, has been selected in recognition of his career accomplishments and years of dedicated and exceptional service to others in teaching conflict resolution and interpersonal and organizational communication. The award will be presented by Chancellor Ann Lydecker at the UW-RF spring commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 19, at the Robert P. Knowles Physical Education and Recreation Center on campus.

Knutson joins such luminary recipients as former NASA First Astronaut and Space Shuttle Commander Daniel Brandenstein, Metropolitan Opera Singer Patricia Steiner, and Dr. Michael Ebersold, a neurological surgeon at the Mayo Clinic who has included among his patients President Ronald Reagan, the late King Hussein of Jordan, and President Zayed of the United Arab Emirates.

Said Lydecker of Knutsonšs selection, "Being able to celebrate achievement and success is always a pleasure, but the accomplishments of this yearšs distinguished alumnus make it particularly gratifying. Tom Knutson has made a life commitment to issues of international communication, peace and understanding that is reflected in his scholarly publications, presentations and activities, as well as in his civic and community contributions. He has left an imprint on people throughout the world."

A 1965 graduate of UW-RF with a bacheloršs degree in speech and sociology, Knutson holds a doctorate in speech communication and educational psychology from Indiana University. He is a professor of communication studies at California State University in Sacramento and is a visiting professor at Bangkok University in Thailand. He also conducts a communication consulting practice in Sacramento.

In his civic activities, Knutson has served as the commissioner of the California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training and he also served on the California State Board of Behavioral Science Examiners.

His numerous academic honors include twice being selected for a prestigious Fulbright Scholarship, to Korea in 1992 and to Russia in 1996. He also has served as president of Phi Beta Delta, the honor society for international scholars. He is listed in "Whošs Who in the World, 2001" and holds the title of Fellow of the International Association for Intercultural Research.

Knutson is widely published. He has presented papers and speeches at scores of conferences and in scholarly publications. His research has ranged from such diverse topics as a comparison of Taiwan and U.S. rhetorical sensitivity and conflict style, to Russian democratization and cultural values, to communications training for retail sales people, to communication styles for pharmacists.

Said Chuck Brictson, director for development and alumni relations and president of the UW-River Falls Foundation, "I am very pleased with the naming of Thomas J. Knutson as our distinguished alumnus for 2001. Dr. Knutson and I were classmates and fraternity brothers in the early 1960s, and I have followed his career with great interest. He has made many contributions in the field of communications that have had an impact in Russia, Thailand and Korea, as well as the United States. He is an extraordinary individual, clearly deserving of this singular recognition from his alma mater."

As part of the honor for being named Distinguished Alumnus for 2001, the University will hang an original portrait of Knutson in the Alumni Hall of Fame, which is located in the Hagestad Student Center.


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