How did you become involved with AJHA?
I first became involved with AJHA nine years ago as a graduate student presenting at the Raleigh, North Carolina conference. Since then I’ve presented several times as a graduate student and then as a faculty member at Virginia Tech. I served a term on the Board of Directors and have been a reviewer for the paper and research-in-progress submissions. I’ve always felt that AJHA is such a welcoming organization, and it provides a great atmosphere for sharing research and learning new insights into media history.
You were a practicing attorney before entering academia. How did that transition from lawyer to media historian take place?
Prior to becoming an attorney, I received a master's degree at the University of Georgia Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, where I wrote my master's thesis about 19th century American media. After that I went to law school and practiced law, but I always was interested in history and research. As a law student I was a student editor for the Journal of Southern Legal History, which was part of the Georgia Legal History Foundation, so my interest in historical research never waned. In 2011 I decided I wanted to go back to get my Ph.D. and LL.M., a post-graduate law degree, at the University of Georgia and transition my career from lawyer to professor. I ended up writing my dissertation about U.S. public relations history, and I have been writing about PR history and corporate communication history ever since.
You are the Director of Graduate Studies at the School of Communication at Virginia Tech and also teach mainly public relations and communication law courses. How does media history impact your instruction on contemporary communication issues?
I think any time we teach a course in communication we should ground that discussion in history. The past provides context for the present day, and I think there is a great need, especially today, for communication students, whether it be journalism, public relations, or advertising, to understand historical context. It makes them stronger communicators and provides them with broader insight into society.
What hobbies or interests do you have outside academia?
I have a three-year-old daughter, Cayce Anne, so my hobbies have largely been centered around her interests and extra curriculars (swimming, dance, golf, soccer, and school). This summer, my wife, daughter, and I took a golf clinic (different classes) and have taken up the game. I serve on the board of my daughter’s preschool, and have been actively involved in Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) at the local and national levels. I also enjoy doing things around the house, especially cooking and gardening, and, when we get a chance to travel, spending time with my family in Georgia.
Cayce Myers is an associate professor of public relations and director of graduate studies at the Virginia Tech University School of Communication. He currently serves as chair of the AEJMC History Division.