CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Sept. 24, 2013 – Joseph Low III of Weston, Fla., will present “They Don’t Speak Spanish in Brazil” at Southeast Missouri State University’s annual Low Lecture at 6 p.m. Oct. 8 in Glenn Auditorium of Dempster Hall.
The lecture is made possible by a generous endowment from Mildred Low, in honor of her son, Joseph Low Jr., who was a professor of speech communication at Southeast Missouri State University from 1962 to 1998. The lecture annually brings distinguished leaders and scholars of communication to the campus. The event is free and open to the public.
Joseph Low III, son of the late Joe Low Jr. and the speaker for this year’s lecture, will draw on the book he co-wrote with his wife, Claudia Low, “They Don’t Speak Spanish in Brazil,” an exploration in intercultural communication for foreigners who need to survive everyday living in and conduct business in Brazil.
“Dad committed his entire professional life to SEMO. And, second only to family, his relationship with anything and everything related to the University was of utmost importance to him,” Low III said.
He says his father’s biggest legacy “was one of being ‘all in’ when it came to involvement with the University. Debate, gymnastics, faculty athletics rep., alumni center leadership, Homecoming, Greek activities, favorite professor events, you name it, all of it was part of his ‘all encompassing’ commitment to the University,” he said. “When socializing with friends back in Cape during breaks from my university studies, I was repeatedly approached by his current and former students. And, each and every one of them had nothing but the highest praise for him as a mentor, instructor, and, really, as someone who truly encouraged them and sincerely cared about their personal and professional development while there at SEMO.”
Low III, who is fluent in English, Spanish and Portuguese, is a strategic management and marketing professional with more than 20 years of experience leading cross-cultural teams focused on Latin American business development. Currently, he is a commercial director with SFE in Action in Florida. SFE is a consultancy located in Sao Paulo, Brazil, which is focused on commercial effectiveness and regularly providing support to clients such as GSK, Gillette, Abbott, Pfizer and BP.
Low III is commonly referred to as one of the “pioneers” of Brazil’s early wireless growth in the late 1990s. He co-founded Nokia’s operations in Brazil, where he was also responsible for the development of Nokia’s B-band licensee relationships, the promotion of the company to key channel sales partners, and the selection and hiring of the company’s first Brazilian team leaders.
At Nokia, he also served as the vice president of the North American market focused “Go to Market” organization where he was responsible for all solutions-based offerings presented to key North American wireless carriers customers such as T-Mobile, AT&T and Rodgers-Canada.
He was vice president of carrier relations at Research in Motion as well as vice president with Nokia’s Latin American business unit.
He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Latin American studies and history from the University of Kansas and an MBA with a focus in international marketing from the University of South Florida, where he also took coursework in Latin American studies.
His father, Low Jr., was a professor at Southeast, where he was assistant director of forensics, graduate studies advisor, professor of speech communication and mass communication and debate coach. He developed and taught classes in public speaking, interpersonal communication, managerial communication and group discussion.
Low Jr., who held a Master of Arts and doctoral degrees from the University of Denver, spent his entire career at Southeast.
He was very involved on and off campus and was extremely popular. He was one of the most admired teachers at Southeast, always ranking among students’ favorite professors. As a “Booster,” he was an ardent fan of Southeast’s athletic teams and was heavily involved in Homecoming and athletic events. A former co-owner of My Daddy’s Cheesecake, Low Jr. served the community as a long-time member of the Rotary Club and a major supporter and fund raiser for Saint Francis Medical Center. In 1998, he retired and moved to Arizona. He passed away in 2007.
“Joe was larger than life – greatly respected by colleagues and students alike. He was quite a booster, too, for Southeast sports … faithfully attending games,” said Dr. Glen Williams, chair of the Southeast Department of Communication Studies.
Dr. Tom Harte, Southeast professor emeritus of speech communication and theatre, and host of KRCU’s “Caffe Concerto,” added, “Joe was a remarkable teacher and a true friend of the student — hence, his involvement in activities outside the classroom, such as athletics, Homecoming, the Greek system, Student Government and more. Students liked him because they sensed that he cared and would do his best to support them and nurture him. He was a well-known and beloved campus figure. He was equally involved in a host of civic activities off campus as well, serving to promote good relations between the campus and the community. That legacy is one that still guides the department, and hopefully the entire University to this day.
“The Low Lecture honors not only a man, but the idea that a good teacher can make a real difference – not only in the lives of students but in the life of a University as well,” Harte said. “Joe knew that communication skills are vital in a democratic society, and the annual lecture in his name, which deals with all facets of the field of communication, is dedicated to underscoring that notion.”