Dr. Lee B. Becker, director of Cox Center, speaking at his award ceremony.

Doctor Honoris Causa Awarded to Dr. Lee Becker

The Senate of the National School of Political Studies and Public Administration in Bucharest awarded a Doctor Honoris Causa to Dr. Lee Becker, director of the James M. Cox Jr. Center for International Mass Communication Training and Research at the University of Georgia, in ceremonies in early December.

The National School of Political Studies and Public Administration (NSPSPA) bestowed the title on Dr. Becker for his career in journalism and media research, mentioning his examination of audiences' uses of mass media and the effects of media messages on society in particular.

The university also said in its award letter that Dr. Becker has helped build a tradition of study regarding journalism and mass communication education. Dr. Becker has directed the Annual Surveys of Journalism & Mass Communication for more than 25 years.

The Romanian university also gave particular thanks to Becker for his support to and cooperation with NSPSPA's College of Communication and Public Relations.

Becker joins a distinguished list of Doctor Honoris Causa degree recipients recognized by NSPSPA, including Peter Schieder, president of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, Dr. Jamie Shea, deputy assistant secretary of NATO, and British sociologist Anthony Giddens.

Becker received the award in ceremonies at the NSPSPA campus in downtown Bucharest on Dec. 4. Dr. Remus Pricopie, rector of the university, presided at the event.

Dr. Tudor Vlad, associate director of the Cox International Center, gave one of three testimonials before the awarding of the degree. Dr. Nicoleta Corbu, dean of the College of Communication and Public Relations and a Fulbright Scholar in the Cox Center in 2008, also spoke on Dr. Becker's behalf.

The Cox Center is a unit of the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia.

From left to right: Dr. Lee B. Becker, director of Cox Center, Dr. Remus Pricopie, rector, and Dr. Iordan Gheorghe Barbulescu, president of the senate.

Dr. Alina Bargaoanu, vice rector of NSPSPA, gave the third testimonial. Dr. Paul Dobrescu, former rector, gave the Laudatio.

In his acceptance lecture, or Lectio Prima, Dr. Becker thanked the Senate and the College for the recognition.

He then gave an integrative overview of his research and called on those present to revisit the existent theories of both media effects and media content creation in the context of change in the media landscape.

"I can only say I think it would be great fun to be starting my career anew today," Dr. Becker said. "So little is known, but we have a solid base from which to frame our questions."

Approximately 100 faculty and students attended the ceremony, which lasted about 90 minutes.

NSPSPA was founded in January 1990 following the fall of the communist regime in Romania. The Doctor Honoris Causa given to Dr. Becker was the 24th awarded by the university since its founding.

The university attempts to balance its awards between public and academic figures, reflecting the nature of the institution. Dr. Becker's award was the first to a communication scholar.

While in Romania for the award, Dr. Becker gave two lectures to students at NSPSPA on research he and Dr. Vlad have been conducting on measurement of public attitudes toward the media, with specific focus on how audiences evaluate their media in terms of their freedom. Dr. Becker also participated in an hour-long interview with Ion Stavre, journalist at the Romanian National Television.