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Memorial service planned on campus for professor emeritus Robert Mayberry

  • Photo of Robert Mayberry

Posted on January 08, 2018

A memorial service has been planned for Robert Mayberry, professor emeritus of communications and philosophy, who died December 8 at the age of 79. The service will take place January 12 at 3:30 p.m. in the Cook-DeWitt Center on the Allendale Campus.

Mayberry came to Grand Valley in 1971 after teaching briefly at Penn State University. At that time, Grand Valley was a cluster college that included William James College, an interdisciplinary, non-departmentalized college. 

Mayberry contributed as a founding faculty member to all aspects of the development of William James College: rationale and pedagogy, curriculum, governance and community life. He was additionally an integral part of the creation of the School of Communications in the early 1980s.

"Robert Mayberry was an academic visionary," said Alex Nesterenko, professor of communication studies and former School of Communications chair. "He saw, perhaps more clearly than most others, how various academic programs logically connect, and that the union between them would prove to be highly successful for students and for Grand Valley."

The School of Communications began in 1983 with only 50 students and grew to nearly 2,000 by the late 1990s.

"In addition to attracting student majors, the School of Communications also added new programs, which is also attributable to Robert's guidance and wisdom," said Nesterenko. "Clearly, Robert Mayberry was the intellectual heart of the School of Communications."

Mayberry was also deeply involved in faculty governance throughout his career at Grand Valley, being among the longest-serving members of the Faculty Senate and the Executive Committee of the Senate. He retired from Grand Valley in 2003.

In addition to teaching, Mayberry was an expert in the wines of the Rhone Valley in southern France and published numerous articles on the region, as well as a book, Wines of the Rhone Valley: A Guide to Origins. For his writing and research on wine, he received a knighthood from the French Ministry of Agriculture in 1998.