Dr. Gordon C. Whiting was born in 1935 and grew up in Minneapolis Minnesota, where his father had gone to obtain a Ph.D. in Theater. His father eventually became director of the University of Minnesota Theater.
After a short stint at Brigham Young University as a student, Whiting left in 1955 to serve a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Austria.
In 1959 Whiting obtained his B.A. from the University of Minnesota. He graduated Magna cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa with a major in Speech and minors in Classics, English, and German.
Whiting received his masters degree from the University of Utah in 1961 and focused on broadcasting with minors in English and psychology. He eventually received his Ph.D. from Michigan State University, in Communication with minors in sociology and political science. Whiting headed a large research project in Brazil from 1995-1997 and gathered the data for his dissertation as part of that project.
Whiting served an assistant professor and then an associate professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison from 1968-1974 before coming to Brigham Young University in 1974 to start the Communication Research Center.
In 1980, he took a year’s leave of absence to teach and do research at the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz Germany. Whiting held a Fulbright scholarship in 1991-1992 in Hungary and worked with four universities there.
He has lived, done research and taught in Afghanistan, Austria, Brazil, Germany, and Hungry and traveled in over 30 foreign countries.
Service at BYU
Whiting came to BYU in 1974 and was named a full professor in 1980. When he became Communications Department Chair in September 1986, he recognized that there was a great deal of work to be done; The Daily Universe was governed by two new hires, the department curriculum needed revisions, the budget needed to be planned, and the faculty needed to be reunited.
Whiting communicated with his faculty through a series of memos, reducing the number of faculty meetings, so that the department could focus on the real tasks at hand - preparing the department for accreditation by the Association of Education in Journalism and Mass Communication.
Through the accreditation process, the strength of the department's curriculum, faculty, and students were highlighted. However, the department's lack of diversity and academic research were also highlighted, thus helping to shift the focus of the department.
Whiting served as the department chair until September 1990. He retired from BYU in 2000.
Personal & Family Life
Whiting is currently serving his third, part-time mission with the Research Information Division of the Correlation Department of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The mission involves him in reviewing and advising on various research projects as well as assisting in data collection and analysis.
He has a love of poetry, theater, good public speaking, good books, classical music and the arts. He plays the violin and is a member of the Utah Valley Symphony. He enjoys reading about cosmology and astronomy, although failing eyesight limits him there. He enjoys fishing and archery, a skill he has taught to scouts in the summers.
He and his wife, Barbara, are the parents of 5 children and the grandparents of 6. Three of his sons are university professors (two at BYU and one at Indiana University). His wife is a professional genealogist, specializing in Swiss research (German, Italian, Romansch, and Latin), and she has clients around the world.
- Somewhere Between Mount Olympus and Mount Everest, Paul Alfred Pratte, 2003.