John Orville Burtis

Communication Studies Faculty

       John Burtis Dr. John Orville Burtis, 60, Communication Studies professor at the University of Northern Iowa, passed away on December 7, 2015. John was born August 23, 1955, in Kansas City, Missouri, to Orville Brown Burtis and Edith Ruth Robbins Burtis. He graduated from Olathe High School in 1973, received his Bachelor of Science from Kansas State University, in Manhattan, Kansas, in 1977, his Master of Arts from KSU in 1979, and his Ph. D. from the University of Minnesota in 1987. His primary research focused on leadership and group discussion. Competitive debate and public speaking (Forensics) was a mainstay throughout much of his care John served as Head of the UNI Department of Communication Studies from 2000 to 2002. Before arriving at UNI, John was a professor and Director of Forensics at Kansas State University from 1991-2000. He taught at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota, from 1979 to 1991, where he served as Director of Forensics for most of those years, and also was Director of the Concordia Leadership Center from 1987 to 1990. Earlier in his career, John taught at the University of Minnesota while he pursued his doctorate degree, Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri, and Kansas State University. He was a lifetime member of the American Forensics Association, the National Communication Association, the Central States Communication Association, and a charter member of the Association of Leadership Educators. He is survived by his wife Kris Pond-Burtis, sons James Michael (Jessica), and Walter John Orville Burtis, grandchildren Amanda and Rachel, as well as his siblings David Burtis (Rae Jean), Helen Burtis (Michael Collis), and Trudy Burtis (Claudia Strong). John will be buried at the Ashland Community Cemetery near Manhattan, Kansas, in the company of his immediate family members. Those interested in making a memorial donation in John’s name may consider giving to a scholarship fund attached to the Speech Communication Departments at UNI, KSU, and/or Concordia College, or the competitive Forensics and Debate programs at those schools. A public memorial service will be held in Cedar Falls at the Cedar Falls Mennonite Church, 215 W. Ninth St., at 11 a.m. on Saturday, January 16, 2016. Copyright Waterloo Courier on-line edition; downloaded December 14, 2016.