Wednesday, August 13, 2008


The following comes from the faculty at Kent State upon the death of sports communication professor Larry Hugenberg. The thoughts and prayers of everyone at JSM go out to the family and friends of Dr. Hugenberg.
It is with deep regret that we report the death of Dr. Lawrence W. Hugenberg, Professor of Communication Studies at Kent State University. Larry died unexpectedly on August 11, 2008.

Larry earned his B.S.S.W, M.A., and Ph.D. from The Ohio State University. Before joining the School of Communication Studies at Kent State University in 2006, Larry spent 26 years in the Department of Communication at Youngstown State University, where he worked his way up from instructor (1980), to assistant professor (1982), to associate professor (1984), and ultimately to professor (1989). He also served at YSU as Academic Advisor and for 11 years as Coordinator of the Communication Studies Area.

Larry made an extraordinary contribution because he excelled at being a colleague, a teacher, a writer, an editor, and an advisor all at once. He received teaching and research awards from state, regional and national communication organizations. He was currently serving as the inaugural editor of the Journal of Communication Studies, previously served as editor of
Communication Teacher, and was currently serving on the editorial boards of numerous publications, including the Journal of Popular Culture. In addition, Larry wrote or edited more than 30 textbooks for basic and hybrid communication courses, such as Creating Competent Communication and The Basic Communication
Course Annual. Most recently, Larry co-edited Sports Mania: Essays on Fandom and the Media in the 21st Century, which was released earlier this month. Over the course of his career, Larry also published more than 50 articles and book chapters and made more than 150 academic and professional presentations.

But the numbers don't tell Larry's story. For those of us fortunate enough to know Larry Hugenberg, his qualities as a human being were far more special than the accomplishments and accolades of his distinguished career. Hispositive demeanor, patience, humility, and personable smile brightened every dayfor everyone around him. His knowledge of the academy, which he sharedselflessly, enhanced multiple careers. Larry made a habit of visiting and caring about everyone in our school, whether it was his wife, his colleagues, administrative assistants, graduate students, or undergraduate students. He wasalways available, professionally or personally, for anyone. All of his colleagues have been commenting on the fact that, even during the past few months while Larry was recuperating from major surgery, he would stop into colleagues' offices, sit down and ask, with genuine concern: "So how are you doing? How are you really doing?"

In addition to being a devoted friend, mentor and teacher, Larry was an exceptionally devoted husband and father. He is survived by his wife and best friend, Dr. Barbara Hugenberg, whom he absolutely adored, four adult children, and one adult step-son.

In short, Larry was a man whom we all will remember with unwavering respect and a smile, although the latter is awfully hard to muster right now given the powerful sense of loss that everyone who knew him is currently feeling. He had the qualities to which everyone aspires but few achieve. For those of us fortunate to know him as a friend and colleague, the void is insurmountable. But his legacy will continue to inspire us all, and we are better for it.


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