Communications professor dies during surgery

Kristen Traynor


Credit: DKS Editors

A communication professor with a love of popular culture leaves behind a legacy of lessons for future leaders in his field.

Lawrence “Larry” Hugenberg, professor of communication studies, died Monday of complications during surgery.

“He cared deeply for his students and colleagues and worked harder than anybody I’ve ever known,” said Stan Wearden, director of the School of Communication Studies.

Wearden said Hugenberg’s research included topics such as sports fans. He focused especially on NASCAR fans, watching them more than the cars. He also taught a course on movies, media and culture, showing his affinity for pop culture.

Hugenberg also taught graduate-level courses in teaching communication, political communication and research methods, as well as undergraduate courses in communication theory, organizational communication, communication and influence, and sports communication. He earned a bachelor’s degree in social work, as well as a master’s and doctorate degree from Ohio State University.

Wearden said Hugenberg and his wife Barbara, both leading experts on the basic communication course, worked together to coordinate the Communication 15000 courses each semester.

Hugenberg began working at Kent State in the School of Communication Studies in 2006, but Wearden said Hugenberg had an incredible impact on the school in that short period.

He wrote more than 30 books and more than 50 articles and book chapters, in addition to making more than 150 presentations at academic conferences. He was also the founding editor of the Journal of Communication Studies, wrote for the Ohio Speech Journal and edited Communication Teacher and The Basic Communication Course Annual.

Wearden said Hugenberg gave a lot of time and attention to his students and was always there to give advice, not only on courses but on life and career choices as well.

Plans have not yet been announced for Hugenberg’s memorial service.

Contact principal reporter Kristen Traynor at [email protected].