Endowed Gift to Support Graduate Student Travel Announced

We are pleased to announce that The Dr. John Korinek Family Endowment for Communication Studies Graduate Student Travel is a $50,000 endowed gift that, as of this spring, is now fully funded. This gift will begin providing several thousand dollars each year to support graduate students in CMS who need financial assistance to present their research at the NCA or ICA Conferences. Because graduate student travel funding is one of the biggest needs in our department, this support is timely and so very much appreciated.

In recognition of their generosity, John and Laurie Korinek were announced at this year’s CMS Honors Day as the inaugural recipients of the Friend of the Department Award. As Department Chair Craig Scott explained, the purpose of this new award “is to recognize a special act in this past year or the accumulation of support over multiple years that benefits the department and its mission.”

“It’s a true honor to be recognized by the Department of Communication Studies in this way. Thanks to Craig Scott, Chair of the department, for extending this honor and to Jay Bernhardt for his support since he became Dean of the College of Communication", said Dr. Korinek. “Both Laurie and I had great experiences at Texas and learned information and ways of thinking that we use to this day. In addition, I was given the opportunity, through a grant, to travel and present a research paper at an ICA conference while I was at UT. This was a great experience that I wouldn’t have had without the generosity of others, so it made sense to find a way to extend that opportunity to other graduate students.”

John Korinek was the first Ph.D. advisee of John Daly, receiving his degree from our department in 1986. Daly and Korinek not only published several things together, but they used to often go to Milto’s Pizza Pub, a spot up on 29th and Guadalupe that closed in 2019. Daly indicated John was a fan of a three dimensional Star Trek game on the mainframe computer that UT had back in the day (perhaps that’s partly why Dr. Korinek has “lived long, and prospered”). John and Laurie started the very successful communication company called PartnerComm, and John is the current COO. The company has won numerous awards from the International Association of Business Communicators. The department hopes to draw on that experience as well now that we have just launched our new student chapter of IABC this spring.

Laurie Korinek received her MA from the department in 1983, working closely with Fred Jablin. Laurie has clearly put her organizational communication training to work as she is Creative Director and Partner at PartnerComm. Laurie recently delivered a powerful keynote address at a conference hosted by The Conference Board and attended by communication professionals across the country. That talk focused on innovative ideas for communicating three vital topics in 2021: emotional health, critical business issues, and diversity and inclusion. Laurie and John’s daughter Mary Kate was also a CMS major (political communication) who graduated last year.

As Scott noted, “we are so grateful to John and Laurie and their family for this wonderful endowment, and we congratulate them as the inaugural recipients of the CMS Friends of the Department Award.” Current Graduate Advisor René Dailey added, “This gift is immensely helpful for our graduate students. Participating and presenting at our major conferences is essential to students’ academic success. We are so thankful that this endowment will allow more of our students to take part in these enriching experiences.”

John Korinek added: “I also want to extend our appreciation to the many professors and others who impacted our lives during our time in the department, some of whom are still there! Special shout-outs to Larry Browning for helping me understand how important qualitative information is and how hard it is to ask questions that lead to a conclusion without guiding the answer; to Rod Hart for helping me understand how important and hard critical thinking is; to Fred Jablin (may he rest in peace) for helping both of us understand organizational communication and the power of good questions; and to Rick Cherwitz for bringing some fun to my day everytime I saw him. And, finally, thanks to John Daly for not only teaching and guiding me through my time at UT, but for helping me understand the hard work that goes into research, and for being a friend both then and now.”