The Editorially Independent Voice of The University of Akron

The Buchtelite

The Editorially Independent Voice of The University of Akron

The Buchtelite

The Editorially Independent Voice of The University of Akron

The Buchtelite

In Memoriam: Dr. Andrew S. Rancer

A professor emeritus of The University of Akron School of Communication, Dr. Rancer’s scholarship made a global impact.

**Editor’s note: A former version of the story (in print) incorrectly misattributed the final paragraph of the memoriam. It has been corrected in the digital flip book.

On April 11, 2024, the Communication world lost a giant. Dr. Andrew S. Rancer, professor emeritus at University of Akron, was a humble, friendly and deeply kind man. There is no doubt that his neighbors and people he knew in his personal life knew he loved his job teaching. What they may not have known is that Dr. Rancer was one of a few Communication scholars to achieve global status. He has published dozens of books and articles, and his work has been translated into many languages. Andy’s research is cited more than 4,500 times.

“Our school has always been fortunate to have Dr. Rancer’s wisdom and research expertise. He is highly respected worldwide for his contributions to the field, and yet, he has always been humble, available and willing to engage students in his research,” Dr. Heather Walter, Director of the School of Communication, said when interviewed  about Andy when he received one of many awards.

To close a lovely eulogy, friend and collaborator Charles J. Wigley III, said “We are all proud on this day to honor our humble easy-going but hugely accomplished friend whose message was brilliantly simple: manage your interpersonal relationships.”

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It is clear that Andy practiced what he preached. All of his colleagues got to know his daughter Aimee as he constantly updated us on her success. His wife Kathi and his family were the center of his life, a life that also included a globally-relevant career. The outpouring of comments from students, colleagues and others that have appeared on the social media posts since his passing are a testament to the thousands of lives he touched in the classroom.

Below, we have a message from one of his mentees, his reprinted Eulogy from his service and an In Memoriam scroll of social media comments.

If your memory or message is missing, please add it to the comment section below. We want this page to serve as a place for Dr. Rancer’s family to come and remember how loved he was.

Thank you to the editors of The Buchtelite for publishing this message and the In Memoriam section,

Julie A Cajigas, Buchtelite Advisor, Professor of Practice


by Charles J. Wigley III

Andy would be unhappy with me if I did not say something funny in this 5-minute eulogy. For four minutes I will say nothing that is funny, then for 1 minute, I will say something funny. I will alert you.

Andy loved his immediate family, sister Tobi and spouse Mitch, his in-laws Todd and JoAnn, and his nephews Jonathan and Evan, and nephew Christoper and spouse Molly, and we know that Andy loved and admired his beautiful bride Kathi, his boundlessly energetic daughter Aimee, his best ever son-in-law Tom, and Buddy “the guard dog” Schnauzer. Today, I’m going to talk about something that you may not know. I am talking about Andy’s unmatched level of humility as Professor Rancer. Only a few people, such as some of his many coauthors/colleagues, such prominent nationally recognized scholars as Theodore A. Avtgis, Corey J. Liberman, Elizabeth E. Graham, Lynda L. McCroskey, Keith Weber, and Yang Lin, know this set of facts.

Whom did he teach?

Andy taught undergraduate and graduate students. With playwright beautiful scholar and Professor Roberta L. Kosberg, he taught 7th graders how to solve problems by teaching them the arguing menu Peanut Butter, Soda Crackers. PBSC: Peanut-P, Butter-B, Soda-S, Crackers-C, the acronym for Problem, Blame, Solution, Consequences. This arguing menu serves as a guide to analyzing policy questions of “what should be done?”

In his many books and articles, Andy taught professors around the world. Others have translated some of his work into Chinese, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Japanese, Korean, Romanian, Slovakian,  Spanish, and Thai. Generally, few research articles are cited more than a few times, often only 2 or 3 times. A good scholar might be cited 200 or 300 times. Andy’s work has already been cited over 4,500 times. He is one of a handful of communication scholars to have achieved global status. He never told you that.

What did he teach?

He taught people the benefits of using well-reasoned arguments instead of emotionally-laden verbal aggressiveness.

How did he teach?

Andy was what scientists call a logical positivist or reductionist. He simply broke reality into smaller parts so that the smaller parts could better be understood.

Why did he teach?

Andy taught people how to manage their personal relationships so that their lives would be more fulfilling. His life-long work was guided by his own mentor, the late Dr. Dominic A. Infante, the number 9 ranked scholar out of thousands of communication scholars in the United States. Dominic Infante and his wife Sandy admired Andy Rancer.

Andy knew that published articles outlive their authors, so Andy will continue his professorship hundreds of years into the future. He never told you that.

Okay, time for some humor.

ITEM ONE: Andy and Kathi have treated me to meals around the country and in Stow, Ohio. They never ever let me pay, not even once. My hope is that Kathi, Aimee, and Tom will continue this legacy.

ITEM TWO: Whenever I would drive us to a restaurant, my GPS would say, go straight. Andy would disagree and say “left.” I’d say the GPS says “straight.” “Left.” Andy, why would I trust you over a $200 million satellite system? Andy’s answer, I know the way, “Left.” Now that Andy has achieved a higher level, I suggest that instead of asking Siri, we rename our car satellite systems, “Ask Andy,” and ask for Andy’s guidance.

Ask Andy, he’s provided guidance to countless students and scholars. Surely we will never go wrong when we follow Andy’s guidance. Andy has always shown us a good way forward by his easy-going nature, sharp intellect, and caring attitude for others. Andy will remain with us because of the exemplary life that he led. Andy’s example guides us and so he remains with us. We are all proud on this day to honor our humble easy-going but hugely accomplished friend whose message was brilliantly simple: manage your interpersonal relationships, Professor Andrew S. Rancer, Ph.D.

Download the Eulogy here.

Charles J. Wigley III, Ph.D., J.D.

Professor Emeritus, Canisius University

Distinguished Research Fellow, Eastern Communication Association

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    Jessica PapajcikApr 21, 2024 at 12:35 PM

    Dr. Rancer was a shining light during my time at The University of Akron. He made learning so much fun. I vividly remember one year early in my career, when I attended the Eastern Communication Association convention. It just so happened that there were four generations of student/professor in the same room. My student, who was still an undergraduate at the time, my professor – Rachel DiCioccio, and her professor, Dr. Rancer (he was my prof, too, but you get the point.) It was a truly remarkable moment. I will never forget Dr. Rancer’s laugh, his punchlines, and the pride he wore on his sleeve for all his students. He never missed a moment to tell us how proud he was of all of us. He will be sorely missed, but never forgotten. Godspeed, Andy.