LaVar Bateman

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J. LaVar Bateman was a speech professor and the Communications Department Chair from 1982-1985.

Early Life

LaVar Bateman

Bateman was born on June 6, 1920, the oldest of four boys, to Rela McMullin Bateman and James Robert Bateman. Before LaVar turned eight, his father died of typhoid fever. In 1932, his mother married A. Ray Beckstead, a widower with eight children.

Bateman married his college sweetheart, Helen Mae Ream. Together, they built their own home on Ash Avenue. The Bateman's mentored Rotary Exchange Students from several countries, and sponsored a number of Cambodian refugee families. He was an active member of Rotary International since 1954. Bateman was a bishop and a high councilman, and served three full-time missions with Helen (Sydney, Australia; Hanoi, Vietnam; and Honolulu, Hawaii) for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They were also part-time missionaries at the Joseph Smith Memorial Building in Salt Lake City for over 10 years.

Education and Career

After graduating from Brigham Young University in 1941 with a degree in Speech Communications Education, Bateman served his country in the Navy during World War II, where he was skipper of a seaplane base in the Bahamas and a communications officer at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. He earned his PhD in Speech Communication at the University of Wisconsin before joining the faculty at BYU.

For over 36 years, Bateman taught public speaking and coached winning debate teams at BYU, where he served on the First Honors Program Council and chaired the University Forum Assemblies. During his administration as Communications Department Chair, he made education research a requirement for promotion within the department. He directed many BYU Travel Study tours to Europe, a world tour, and a Caribbean cruise. He was also the Director of Study Abroad in London.

He also served as a visiting professor at Michigan State University, the College of the Virgin Islands, and George Washington University in Maryland, and was an assistant to Senator Wallace Bennett in Washington D.C.

LaVar Bateman passed away on July 6, 2005.

Since 2005, the LaVar Bateman Endowment has generously donated to the Donald C. Sloan Extemporaneous Speaking Contest at BYU.


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