An excerpt from the letter sent to members from Eastern Communication president Katherine Thweatt:
Once again, I am reaching out to you with a heavy heart. We have heard from many members inquiring about whether our beloved convention will take place this year. These messages have steadily increased in number since yesterday. During the past 24 hours, the Executive Board has met several times about COVID-19 to determine the best approach for our association and membership. While we initially believed that we could carry on, it has become apparent that we must cancel the 111th Eastern Communication Association (ECA) convention, Harboring Innovation, in Baltimore, Maryland, Wednesday, April 1 – Sunday, April 5, 2020.
Before addressing the rationale for this decision, I want to extend my deepest appreciation and compassion to our Primary Planner and ECA First Vice President, Jennifer Waldeck. As you know, she planned an innovative conference with programming to educate ourselves not only on current research, but with opportunities to learn how to conduct rigorous research. Her innovative planning also included changing our approach to our business meeting and the announcement of awards and recognitions.
The passion, dedication, and action Jennifer showed in the year leading up to her conference provides a blueprint for future planners on how to plan and how to conference differently from the status quo. I am devastated that we will not reap the benefits of Jennifer’s conference planning prowess during the expected timeframe of 04/01/2020 - 04/05/2020. However, the Executive Board is working to implement a plan to honor our election of Jennifer to plan a conference for us. Working out the details of this plan may require a few weeks’ work, but we will make every effort to announce the specifics of our next steps as soon as possible. Thank you, Jennifer, for your hard work. We will not let you down in finding a way to allow your hard work to pay off.
Stevenson University Communication students and faculty join in acknowledging the amazing work accomplished by Jennifer Waldeck, first vice president of the ECA and convention planner. The help she received from Stevenson's own Dr. Leeanne Bell McManus and her Advanced Event Planning class must also be commended. Thanks to all who spent an enormous amount of time, energy and creativity on this event.