A high school debate champion, Gary W. Eckles attended Bowling Green State University on a full scholarship, graduating in 1973 with a B.A. in Speech and Political Science. He then coached debate and taught Modern Public Discourse at the University of Massachusetts, graduating in 1976 with a Master's degree in Communication Studies and American History, and returning as the University Director of Debate in 1979. He has 65 post-Masters graduate hours, 30 in communication studies and American history from the University of Massachusetts, and 35 in speech communication and diplomatic history from the University of Maryland.
The author of 50 plus professional papers, Gary has published a variety of works, from John Kennedy's Vision on Cuba in the Biennial Proceedings of the Rhetoric Society of America to Black English on Black Situation Comedies in the Journal of Communication. An active member of the American Institute of Parliamentarians, the Eastern Communication Association (Life Member), the National Communication Association, and the Virginia Association of Communication Arts and Sciences, Gary has been a State Membership Coordinator for NCA, Chair and Secretary for the Forensics, Political Communication, and Community College Interest Groups of ECA, and President, First Vice-President, Archivist, and Board Member of VACAS. He has also served as Associate Editor of The National Forensics Journal, the Rhetoric Society of America, and the Virginia Journal of Communication. His current research ranges from Southern Appalachian poetry to the rhetoric of indigenous peoples to community-building in online courses.
A frequent community speaker, Gary is a trained National Issues Forum Convener/Moderator, a Virginia Peninsula Chamber of Commerce Leadership Institute graduate, a Past President and current Board Member of Leadership Virginia Peninsula, a Founding Partner of Comprehensive Communications, LLC, the current President and a Founding Board Member of Friends-of-the-Farm, Inc., a past Board Member of the Virginia Choral Society, and an annual advocate for the Faculty Senate of Virginia and the Virginia Conference of the AAUP.
Over the years Gary has also taught at Old Dominion University, West Virginia Wesleyan College, Hampton University, Tidewater Community College, Christopher Newport College, the University of Maryland, and Towson State University. He presently teaches Argumentation and Debate, Foundations of Communication Theory, and Public Speaking at William & Mary. He additionally teaches public speaking at Christopher Newport University and at Thomas Nelson Community College, where he has been a Department Chair, Assistant Dean, and Faculty Senate President.