Human communication

Scripps to induct Dr. David Descutner into the Ohio Communications Hall of Fame on March 21

Dr. David Descutner, who joined the Ohio University faculty in 1979 and served in many ways until his final retirement in December 2017, was chosen by the Scripps College of Communication at the University of Ohio as the next member of the Ohio Communications Hall of Fame. He will be inducted Monday, March 21 at Schoonover Center 145, 20 E. Union Street, Athens, Ohio, at 3:30 p.m.

“David has created a legacy of leadership, both at Scripps College of Communication and across the university,” said Scripps College of Communication Dean Scott Titsworth. “As Director of the School of Communication Studies and University College Dean, President and Acting Provost, David is an unprecedented student advocate and has resulted in landmark programs like the Learning Community/First Year-Experience. Perhaps most importantly, David’s relationships with students changed lives. So many Bobcats point to David as a source of support, encouragement and tough love when they needed it most. We will always be grateful for David’s commitment to students and his tireless commitment to Ohio University.

Descutner began his career at Ohio University as a professor in the School of Communication Studies, where he eventually served as director of studies for the Honors Tutorial College, director of undergraduate studies, director of graduate studies, and acting director from school. In 2001, he was appointed Dean of University College and Vice-Rector, Undergraduate Education. In 2009, he was appointed vice-rector general. Over the years, Descutner has served on and led several committees, served on the Faculty Senate, and from 2012-2014 served as Acting Vice Provost for Diversity and Inclusion. Around this time, Descutner retired but was recalled, serving as acting chair of the Department of Social Medicine at the Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine and special assistant to the executive dean. In February 2017, he was named acting president of Ohio University, a position he held until June 2017, when he was named acting provost and executive vice president. He then retired one last time in December 2017.

Descutner has received numerous honors over the years, including University Professor in 1986 and 1999, Outstanding Tutor by HTC in 1996, and Outstanding Faculty Advocate by Regional Campuses in 2005. He received the LH Hortin Award in 2000 for faculty excellence in student mentoring. He was also included in the Army ROTC Hall of Fame in honor of his support of the program in 2012.

“David Descutner’s influence on the lives of generations of OHIO students and faculty is almost immeasurable,” said Dr. Roger Aden, Charles E. Zumkehr Professor of Voice Communication in the School of Communication Studies and colleague longtime Descutner. “He genuinely cared about his students, both as learners and as human beings, which is why he won so many teaching and mentoring awards during his time at the University. David’s passion for teaching, his commitment to diversity, and his belief that every student deserved his full attention made an early and deep impression on me when I arrived at OHIO. His tireless dedication to these commitments has undoubtedly inspired countless others.

Descutner and his wife, Dr. DeLysa Burnier, a professor in the Department of Political Science at Ohio University since 1983, have been active in philanthropic efforts with Ohio University, University of Illinois , Slippery Rock State University, and many local nonprofits. He was a board member of United Campus Ministry for three years and currently serves on the boards of the Ohio Humanities Council, Rural Action and the Appalachian Children’s Coalition.

Dr. Descutner received his bachelor’s degree from Slippery Rock State University and his master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Illinois. He has supervised 50 theses and served on more than 75 doctoral and master’s committees at four of Ohio University’s academic colleges.

The induction into the Ohio Communications Hall of Fame on Monday, March 21 will be followed by a reception. This event is free and open to the public.

To support the David Descutner Fund for Communication Studies and celebrate his contributions, you can donate online at this webpage.