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Communications Scholar William Gudykunst Dies
Notable human communications studies professor is remembered for his leadership in curriculum development and attracting international students.

January 24, 2005 :: No. 116

William B. Gudykunst, professor of human communication studies at Cal State Fullerton and a nationally known expert on multicultural communications, died Jan. 20 at South Coast Medical Center after suffering a stroke. He was 57.

“Bill was an incredibly inspirational leader in the study of human communication, with an emphasis in intercultural communications,” said Robert A. Emry, emeritus professor of human communications studies, who was associate dean for the College of Communications when Gudykunst joined the faculty in 1989.

“We were a brand new college at the time of his hiring, and he helped our college develop a national and international reputation in the field of human communications,” said Emry. He noted that Gudykunst was a leader in curriculum development and was instrumental in recruiting and attracting international students, particularly from Japan, where the professor had once served as an intercultural relations specialist in the U.S. Navy.

Gudykunst was a prolific author and editor of more than 28 books, including “Theorizing About Intercultural Communication,” published last September by Sage Publications; the fourth edition of “Bridging Differences” and “Cross-Cultural and Intercultural Communication,” (Sage 2003); and “Asian American Ethnicity and Communication” (Sage 2000). Two books, “Culture and Interpersonal Communication,” co-authored with CSUF professor Stella Ting-Toomey, and “Communicating With Strangers: An Approach to Intercultural Communication,” co-authored with Y.Y. Kim, were named the outstanding books for 1988 and 1984, respectively, by the Speech Communication Association, a national organization of scholars.

Gudykunst also authored more than 200 book chapters and articles for the leading scholarly journals in the field, including the International Journal of Intercultural Communication and Human Communication Research. He presented more than 90 papers before such organizations as the International Communication Association, International Association for Cross-Cultural Psychology, International Conference on Personal and Social Relationships, World Communication Association, British and Japanese Social Psychological associations and the Western Communication Association.

In 2002, Gudykunst was awarded a “Lifetime Achievement Award” by the International Communication Association’s Intercultural and Development Division. He was named a founding fellow of the International Academy for Intercultural Research in 1998 and a fellow of the International Communication Association in 1992. He was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship in 1982 to attend the Yugoslavia-United States Fulbright Conference on “Communication, Society and Culture.”

A member of the board of directors of the International Academy for Intercultural Research, Gudykunst also was editor of the International and Intercultural Communication Annual (Vol. 7-9, 1983-85) and Communication Yearbook 24-26 (2000-2002). He also served on several editorial boards, including International Journal of Intercultural Relations, Western Journal of Communication, International Journal of Intercultural Relations and Communication Research.

He served as a member and an officer for various committees within the International Communication Association, International Society for Social and Personal Relationships and Speech Communication Association.

Gudykunst also was a member of the International Academy for Intercultural Research, Asian Association of Social Psychology, Society for Personality and Social Psychology and the International Association for Cross-Cultural Psychology.

At Cal State Fullerton, the professor taught human communication and Asian studies courses and served as graduate adviser for the Human Communication Studies Department. He is credited with helping to develop the Asian American Studies Program, and was a member of the Asian American Studies Program Council, Graduate Education Committee, and planning committees for three communication conferences held on campus in the late 1990s.

Prior to joining Cal State Fullerton, Gudykunst was a professor of communication at Arizona State University and taught previously at State University of New York at Albany, Rutgers University, University of Hartford and the University of Maryland, Far East Extension in Yokosuka, Japan. He earned a doctorate in speech communication from the University of Minnesota and held master’s and bachelor’s degrees in sociology from Arizona State University. “Bill was a true scholar and a friend of the department. He brought strength to our multicultural curriculum and leadership to our graduate program, as well as to the discipline,” said Kurt P. Kitselman, chair and professor of human communications studies. “He will be greatly missed.”

Gudykunst, who lived in Laguna Beach, is survived by his brother, Ronald, and niece, Kim.

Services are scheduled for 4 p.m. Jan. 27 at the Zenshuji Soto Zen Mission in Los Angeles.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the William Gudykunst Memorial Scholarship, c/o Cal State Fullerton Philanthropic Foundation, 2600 E. Nutwood Ave., Ste. 850, Fullerton, CA 92831.


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William Gudykunst
William B. Gudykunst

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