The fourth annual Butler CCOM Symposium features multiple sports-related events

The Butler University CCOM Symposium will run from Feb. 20-March 2. Photo provided by Butler College of Communications.


The College of Communication’s fourth annual CCOM Symposium will feature several prominent sports-related speakers from Feb. 20 through March 2.

This yearly conference consists of individual sessions of guest speakers including scholars, journalists, community leaders, alumni and more. This year, they will address the theme of “Communicating Difference.” According to The Butler Newsroom, CCOM Dean Gary Edgerton said the theme “emphasizes our college’s abiding commitment to seeking understanding, building bridges, and promoting inclusivity through hosting a talented and diverse group of scholars, filmmakers, sports figures, musicians, journalists, storytellers, and radio personalities.”

The CCOM Symposium is partnering with Butler athletics to bring guest speakers that have professional knowledge of the sports world. Val Ackerman, Brandon Gaudin and Sally Perkins will be visiting the symposium.

Ackerman, the Commissioner of the Big East Conference, the Division I collegiate athletic conference of which Butler is a member, will present her lecture in the Johnson Room on Feb. 23 from 12-2 p.m. on the topic of women in sports.

Ackerman attended the University of Virginia and earned her law degree at UCLA. For her previous jobs, Ackerman was the founding president of the Women’s National Basketball Association, served as President of USA Basketball and was the U.S. representative to the International Basketball Federation for eight years.  

Chelsea Groves, fresh-year sports media major, said she is thrilled to hear Ackerman’s presentation.

“She is so prominent.” Groves said. “You’ve heard so many great things about her and what she has accomplished. Just to see someone so successful in the sports world, a woman, you want to follow that path.”

The second sports speaker is Brandon Gaudin, a Butler alum and the play-by-play voice of the Madden NFL video game. Gaudin will give his presentation in the Eidson-Duckwall Recital Hall on Feb. 23 from 6-8 p.m. Gaudin will discuss his journey from a Butler journalism major to a national sportscaster.

During his time at Butler, Gaudin was named “Most Outstanding Communications Student” and graduated in the top of his class. Since graduating in 2006, Gaudin has worked in radio and television. Gaudin worked as the play-by-play voice for Butler basketball, Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets and Madden NFL 17. On television, he works with Fox Sports 1 and the Big Ten Network to broadcast basketball, baseball and football.

Butler University professor Scott Bridge said Gaudin has a high level of preparation and expertise when doing play-by-play.

“Brandon always does the preparation and nuts and bolts that goes into play-by-play,” Bridge said. “You don’t just arrive at the game and start talking about who’s taking the ball out-of-bounds. There’s a lot of prep work that goes into it and most people don’t realize how much work it takes to do one of these games. Brandon pulls it off flawlessly.”

The last sports-related speaker of the symposium is Sally Perkins, a professional storyteller who focuses on performing diverse stories to all audience types. Perkins will perform a piece titled “Keeping Hinkle, Hinkle” in the Johnson Room on March 2 from 5-7 p.m. This performance will provide details about the past and future of Butler University’s Hinkle Fieldhouse through storytelling.

Communication professors feel the symposium is an opportunity for Butler students to learn from professionals about the field of study in which they have interest. Professors like Bridge require their classes to attend certain events and encourage students to talk to the scholars and ask questions.



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