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Teaching Communication

David Kenneth Berlo (1929-1996) was the eleventh president of Illinois State University. A native of St. Louis, Missouri, Berlo was interested in communication and earned his psychology degree and later his PhD in communication from the University of Illinois. While there, Berlo wrote what would become a popular textbook in the field of communication, The Process of Communication. In 1958, Berlo became the first chairperson for the new department of General Communication Arts at Michigan State University and served in that capacity until his appointment as Illinois State University’s newest president in 1971.

Forced to Resign

Berlo’s future at ISU seemed bright in the early months of his tenure, however, his interactions with administrators and faculty were seen as harsh and hostile. Berlo did make some positive contributions during his time at ISU, including stabilizing administrative structures and working to improve communications technologies. However, twenty months into his presidency, Berlo was forced to resign when allegations surfaced of improper spending of university funds on the presidential residence. Berlo moved to St. Petersburg, Florida and became a communication and management consultant earning a ‘Man of the Year’ award from the Industrial Council of the YMCA in 1979. David Kenneth Berlo died on February 23, 1996 in Florida and was buried in the New Saint Marcus Cemetery and Mausoleum in Affton, Missouri.

Continued Research