Baird, A. Craig
- Existence: 1914-1972
A. (Albert) Craig Baird was a recognized authority on speech and debate who taught in American colleges and universities continually for 60 years, including 45 at the University of Iowa. He was awarded the University's highest honor, its Distinguished Service Award, in 1974. The University also established the A. Craig Baird Distinguished Professorship in Communications Studies in his honor. Mr. Baird was born in Vevay, Indiana, on October 20, 1883, and graduated from high school there. After working for a year, he enrolled at Wabash College, supporting himself and becoming a member of that institution's first intercollegiate debate team and of Phi Beta Kappa. After graduation in 1907, he studied at McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago and later Union Theological Seminary in New York from which he received a divinity degree magna cum laude in 1910. He also received a master's degree in English and rhetoric from Columbia University in 1912. His teaching career began at Ohio Wesleyan and continued at Dartmouth before he went to Bates College in 1913. In 1923 he married Marion Peirce and they had one daughter. In 1925 the family moved to Iowa City, where Mr. Baird became Associate Professor of Speech (later Professor) at Iowa and headed the program in Rhetoric and Public Address. He also directed the inter-collegiate debate and discussion program, and from 1925 to 1948 was director of the Iowa High School Forensic League. During much of that time he was in charge of weekly discussion programs over University radio station WSUI. In 1952 and 1953 he served on the development committee of the Fund for Adult Education of the Ford Foundation. Despite his official retirement in 1952, Professor Baird continued to teach full-time each fall at Iowa and full-time each spring at some other university until 1969. He also taught each summer for almost the same length of time. He wrote or edited over 30 books, some of which went through many editions, and was also the author of numerous articles. In addition to his own scholarly work, he directed more than 100 master's theses and about 50 doctoral dissertations. A. Craig Baird died in Iowa City on March 18, 1979, at age 95.