NEW YEAR'S GREETINGS
2009 was a fine year for RSA, and on behalf of the RSA Board I want to wish RSA members a fine 2010. My two years as RSA President have been a consistent pleasure, and it's in large part thanks to the wonderful colleagues that I've met through the organization and that I've had the honor of working with. So let me make my final Official Duty as outgoing President a matter of offering a few words of special thanks.
First, five members of RSA are concluding their terms on the Board. You met the incoming members in a recent posting, so now let recognize those who are leaving:
--Ralph Cintron's most significant achievement, to my mind, was to lead the effort to ensure that future RSA events will always be held in facilities that treat their employees fairly. Ralph carefully and thoughtfully--and persistently--saw to it that we would have a policy in this regard that our members can be proud of.
--Leah Ceccarelli contributed in many ways during her term on the Board, not least through her consistently wise counsel; but I will especially always remember the tremendous effort she made to ensure that our 2008 conference in Seattle came off well.
--Caroline Gottschalk-Druschke, our indefatigable graduate student member, is now finalizing new proposals, already tentatively approved by other Board members, that will expand still further the RSA opportunities available to graduate students and to RSA student chapters.
--Janet Atwill worked hard and selflessly over a period of several years to ensure the smooth running of the various RSA awards processes.
--Barbara Warnick offered me all kinds of helpful suggestions along the way, and (though she probably doesn't realize it) I came to rely informally on her good advice on a host of issues. Her work as coeditor of the RSA volume The Responsibilities of Rhetoric is a wonderful material product of her devotion to the Society.
--Finally, Past President David Zarefsky leaves the RSA leadership after many years of service. We all owe him a tremendous debt because of how he advanced RSA in all kinds of ways. Among other accomplishments he ensured that key positions (such as Executive Director and Editor) were filled with extremely capable people, he succeeded in getting RSA membership in the American Council of Learned Societies, he has been looking into ways to give RSA an important book publishing presence (you'll hear more about this in the first few months of 2010), he gave us a spectacular conference in Memphis and made sure that our Institutes and conferences are well planned in the future, and most recently he oversaw an excellent elections process. I relied on David's administrative savvy and advice and patience and creativity in countless ways, and his professionalism and good humor always made RSA deliberations go smoothly. Having a scholar of David's accomplishment as our President and Past President gave the Society renewed respect in the field, and no doubt that is why membership has increased so substantially in recent years.
More personally, I thank Ralph, Leah, Caroline, Janet, Barbara, and David--and RSQ editor Carolyn Miller, Executive Director Greg Clark, and membership chair Arabella Lyon (and her predecessor Debbie Hawhee)--for their continuing friendship. I cannot recall a single time when someone turned me down when I asked him or her for some help. That goes for Kathie Cesa as well: her devotion to RSA as our staff-person-of-all-trades is sustained, often selfless, and invaluable. If you see any of these folks around or have an occasion to drop any of them an email, please give them your own words of thanks for their service.
2010 is full of promise for RSA because of the people I've mentioned and because of the activities of many other members as well. New President Michael Leff is ensuring that our Minneapolis conference in May will be a spectacular success, we will unveil our first fifth "special issue" of the journal, and other developments are in the works, as I've indicated. May all our promise be fulfilled, and may RSA members have every personal and professional satisfaction in the new year.