Education professor Zuckerman dies at 60

Christina Stavale

Memorial service to be held June 2 at noon

Family, friends and faculty gathered Monday afternoon near the rock outside of White Hall in memory of Dr. Robert Zuckerman, who had been a beloved professor for more than 30 years. More commonly known as “Doc Whiz,” Zuckerman also served as faculty advis

Credit: DKS Editors

Don Bubenzer remembers Robert Zuckerman for his sense of humor and dedication to helping freshmen fit in.

“His life was teaching freshman orientation and helping freshmen make the transition to Kent State,” said Bubenzer, the interim dean of the College of Education, Health and Human Services. “He was totally committed to them.”

Zuckerman, once an associate professor of education, was found dead in his home May 29. He was 60 years old. According to his obituary that appeared in the Record-Courier, he died of natural causes.

Students and faculty may attend a memorial service tomorrow, June 2, at noon by the rock on Kent State’s front campus, near White Hall and Main Street.

Bubenzer said Zuckerman had been teaching a distance learning class during intercession, and when students began to alert him that Zuckerman wasn’t responding to e-mails and assignments, they sent police to his home and found he had passed away.

Zuckerman had taught classes in Spring 2008 and was scheduled to teach two courses this summer.

Amanda Klag, junior early childhood education major, knew Zuckerman – whom she called “Doc Z” – from being a part of the Education Learning Community, for which he was the adviser.

She remembers a time when her birthday happened to fall on one of the group’s meeting dates, and Zuckerman brought her cupcakes and a gift.

“I was pretty close to him,” she said. “If you ever needed anything, he was always willing to help.”

She said he helped her get involved on campus during her freshman year when she was a commuter student by always telling her different things to do on campus.

Klag said she also had Zuckerman for class, in which his sense of humor surfaced as he constantly cracked jokes.

One humorous memory of Zuckerman that Bubenzer said he remembers happened last fall during an orientation session for education majors. Zuckerman told freshmen he was going to raffle off $100 for a name he would pull out of an envelope. But he had it planned out that no real student’s name would be called.

“He had the name of someone who wasn’t even a student,” Bubenzer said. “He did not give away the money. Then he ran ads in the Stater for this imaginary person to collect the money.”

That was Zuckerman’s way of getting students engaged with one another – in this case, to look for this imaginary student.

Aside from his connection with freshmen, Bubenzer said Zuckerman helped the college “launch into the age of technology” by being involved with it early on. This, and his dedication to students, made him a valued asset to the college.

“There’s going to be a lot of people who miss him,” said Klag.

Contact editor Christina Stavale at [email protected].