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Saturday, March 25, 2023


Communication professor leaves impressive legacy with students, staff


William Hawes taught for over 50 years and authored multiple books during his lifetime. | Courtesy of UH

UH is saying goodbye to beloved communication professor William Hawes, who passed away over the weekend.

During his nearly half century of teaching at the Jack J. Valenti School of Communication, he touched the lives of thousands of students, some of which have gone on to become top journalists and producers in the media world.

Communication school director and associate professor Beth Olson recognized Hawes’ ability to confer his advice to both colleagues and students.

“He was always interested in helping you with your professional growth, setting goals and recognizing accomplishments and strengths,” Olson said. “As a professor, he applied those same approaches in the classroom with his students, maintaining contact with a lot of them over the years, even those who were in his classes in the late 1960s.”

A veteran of the Korean War, Hawes earned his bachelor’s degree from Eastern Michigan University and his doctorate from the University of Michigan. He taught at Eastern Michigan College and Texas Christian University before teaching at UH.

An avid traveler, Hawes spent time in Asia, traveling to China and Japan on a Fulbright Scholarship.

When Hawes began teaching at UH, he helped to merge the classroom and broadcast studio with student-produced programming, working with faculty who lead the University’s radio, television and film programming.

Remembered as an outgoing and charismatic professor, Hawes made numerous strides for everyone involved in the communication school. One of his books on mass media, “The Performer in Mass Media: Connecting with Television and Online Audiences,” was eventually co-authored and updated by Olson, giving her an opportunity to expand her publishing experience.

“Once I became director, he was very supportive behind the scenes and would offer his advice on many things, mostly professional development,” said Olson.

Hawes authored other books, including “Live Television Drama, 1946-1951,” “Caligula and the Fight for Artistic Freedom,” and “American Television Drama.”

The professor also established the Hawes Family Scholarship in 2007, supporting countless students in their journey toward a communication degree. The scholarship will now keep Hawes and his accomplishments alive in the minds of future students and educators on campus.

“Hawes will be remembered as someone who was dedicated to students,” Olson said. “(He) added something to their lives that they continue to appreciate, and for establishing the scholarship endowment as an incredible ongoing gift that will continue to help students.”

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