Dennis Jeffers, Central Michigan University professor of journalism, dies
Central Michigan University Professor of Journalism Dennis Jeffers died Wednesday morning after a long illness on the eve of his 66th birthday.
Jeffers worked at CMU since 1979, according to his biography on the department of journalism website. He taught journalism courses for several years and also worked in various administrative positions before returning to teach in the department.
He was married to Sue, an Ann Arbor attorney. They had two adult children.
He taught classes spring semester, but did not return after spring break due to his health, said Maria Marron, department of journalism chairwoman.
“He had amazingly sharp intellect, quick wit and was a brilliant man,” Marron said. “He was a tremendous advocate for the department.”
Marron said he made significant contributions to the department in his tenure in the areas of curriculum development and problem solving. She said Jeffers was also a popular mentor for younger faculty members.
Ronald Marmarelli, assistant professor of journalism, was hired the year before Jeffers and was a member of the group responsible for hiring him. Marmarelli said Jeffers would be remembered for an eclectic and broad range of interests and skills.
“He was great fun,” Marmarelli said. “He made great contributions to the department and everywhere he was … We’ve missed him this past year or so and hoped he would come back.”
Marmarelli said Jeffers was positive with a “wonderful … great, witty, sharp and pleasant” sense of humor.
Journalism Instructor Mary Pat Lichtman came to CMU in 1982, where she had Jeffers as a professor. She said he taught several different courses in his time at the university but most recently taught introductory courses, which he enjoyed because they allowed him to interact with a broad range of students.
Jeffers served as an adviser to Lichtman and the two later became personal friends with their respective spouses, she said.
“(Dennis) was very kind, and he always took the time to step out of that (comfort) zone to help others and work extra with students,” she said. “He loved this department. He was a leader and will leave a huge hole.”
Lichtman said Jeffers was forward-thinking and helped to develop the department’s social media curriculum with Jim Wojick, associate professor of journalism.
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