W Stuart TownsW. Stuart Towns is recently retired from Professor and Chairman of the Department of Communication Studies at Southeast Missouri State University.  Before that he was Professor and Chair of Department of Communication at Appalachian State University and the University of West Florida.

Stuart also coached the men’s cross country team at the University of West Florida for 15 years where they qualified for the NAIA National Championship Meet 9 out of 10 years.  After transferring to NCAA Division II, the team won the Gulf South Conference Championship 3 out of the 5 years before he retired from coaching.  He had run track and cross country in high school and college, winning the Arkansas state high school mile his senior year in 1957, and lettering in track and cross country at the University of Arkansas from 1957-1961.  Later, he was a member of the U.S. Modern Pentathlon Team and competed in the 1964 Olympic Trials in modern pentathlon, marathon, and fencing.

After spending over 30 years in the Active Army Reserves, Stuart retired as a Colonel.  While in the Reserves, he served with the 361st Civil Affairs Brigade, and was a member of the Consulting Faculty Program at the U.  S. Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, KS.

Contact Information: Email


  • University of Arkansas  1961  B.A. Speech
  • University of Florida 1962  M.A. Speech
  • University of Florida 1972  Ph.D. Speech

Major Awards/Honors:

  • “Outstanding Contribution to Communication Scholarship” Award from the American Communication Association in 2000 for his first two books: Oratory and Rhetoric in the Nineteenth-Century South and Public Address in the Twentieth-Century South.
  • S. A. Cunningham Award from the Arkansas Sons of Confederate Veterans given to authors “for Literary Accomplishment and for their ability to publish or print the stories about Arkansas and its men that fought in the ‘War for Southern Independence’.”

Previous Book Publications: 

Selected Publications on Southern Oratory History and Criticism in Professional Journals

  • “A Bibliography of Speech, Theatre and Mass Communication” Senior editor of this annual bibliography published in the Southern Speech Journal, later called the Southern Speech Communication Journal from 1965-1977 and 1982-1984.
  • “A Louisiana Medicine Show: The Kingfish Elects an Arkansas Senator,” Arkansas Historical Quarterly  25 (Summer 1966) 117-127.
  • “Joseph T. Robinson and Arkansas Politics: 1912-1913,” Arkansas Historical Quarterly 24 (Winter 1965) 291-307.
  • “Honoring the Confederacy in Northwest Florida: The Confederate Monument Ritual.”  The Florida Historical Quarterly 57 (October 1978), 205-212.
  • “Atticus G. Haygood: Neglected Advocate of Reconciliation and a New South.” Southern Studies 26 (Spring 1987), 28-40.
  • “‘To Preserve the Traditions of Our Fathers’: The Post-War Speaking Career of Jefferson Davis.”  The Journal of Mississippi History 52 (May 1990), 111-124.
  • “‘Gilded Gateways to Economic Paradise’: Senator Joe T. Robinson, Senate Spokesman for the New Deal.”  Arkansas Review 31 (Spring 2000), 29-38.
  • “Teaching the Communication of the Southern Civil Rights Movement.”  Carolinas Communication Annual 16 (2000), 36-45.
  • “Haunting the South For a Century and More: Lost Cause Rhetoric and Ritual.”  North & South, 14:1 (May 2012), 40-48.

Chapters in Scholarly Books 

  • “Ceremonial Orators and National Reconciliation,” Oratory in the New South, Waldo W. Braden, ed., Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1979. 117-142.
  • “Oratory in South Carolina,”  Encyclopedia of South Carolina (Columbia: University of South Carolina Press). 2006.

Selected Convention Papers on Southern Oratory History and Criticism

  • “Rhetoric of Social Change: Persuasive Communication and the Foundation of the Sunbelt South,” Rhetoric Society of America Convention,  Austin, Texas, May, 2004.
  • “Status and Future of Southern Rhetorical Studies,”  Southern States Communication Association Convention, Birmingham, Alabama, April, 2003.
  • “Demagoguery and the Civil Rights Movement: The White Supremacy Dinosaurs at Mid­ Century,” National Communication Association Convention, New Orleans, Louisiana, November,  2002.
  • “Haunting the South for a Century and More: Lost Cause Rhetoric and Ritual,” National Communication Association Convention, New Orleans, Louisiana, November, 2002.
  • “Teaching the Rhetoric of the Southern Civil Rights Movement.”  Paper presented at Southern States Communication Association Convention, New Orleans, April 2000.
  • “Confederate Memorial Day and Confederate Veterans Rituals: Reclaiming the Old South in the New South.”  Paper presented at Popular Studies Symposium, Bowling Green State University, May 1999.
  • “Joseph T. Robinson Takes on Huey Long and the Southern Tenant Farmers Union.”  Paper presented at Delta Studies Symposium, Arkansas State University, April 1999.
  • “Daisy Bates: Overlooked Pioneer of the Civil Rights Movement.”  Paper presented at National Association of African American Studies, Houston, Texas, February 1999.
  • “The Rhetoric of Southern Orators.”  Paper presented at American Culture Association Convention, Louisville, Kentucky, 1985.