Robert Rayfield, Emeritus Professor of Communications, Is Remembered
September 22, 2009
Robert “Bob” Rayfield, emeritus professor of communications, died Thursday, Sept. 10, at the age of 80. Rayfield joined the campus as a part-time lecturer in 1983 and in a year became a full-time faculty member in the Communications Department.
“Bob Rayfield had an impact on the lives of his students, his colleagues and on the public relations curriculum,” said Rick Pullen, dean of the College of Communications. “He was greatly respected and a dear friend to all who worked with him. His students had great appreciation for him and, as a result, the department now has the Robert E. Rayfield Chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America.”
Rayfield earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in speech in the early 1950s from the University of Florida. Following college, he entered the United States Air Force, where he served as an aerial navigator flying B-26, B-47 and B-52 aircraft. He also served as a navigation instructor and an operations staff officer, spending time in Korea, Japan and the United States.
In 1969, Rayfield began working in a public affairs division of the Air Force and while on active duty, earned his doctorate in journalism from the University of Texas at Austin in 1977. When Rayfield retired from the Air Force in 1983, he began teaching Cal State Fullerton.
“As department chair at the time, I always looked forward to Bob’s wise council, his highly professional approach to his work, and his deeply sincere concern for his students,” said Ed Trotter, associate vice president for undergraduate programs. “He and I shared a military background; mine short and his long and distinguished. We enjoyed sharing those perspectives as they related to university life. He always sent me a Happy Guadalcanal Day card as that was also my birthday.
“Although we will miss him terribly, his work at this university manifests itself every single day in our curriculum, our PRSSA chapter and the continuing dedication of many of his loving colleagues.”
In addition to teaching, Rayfield served as faculty adviser for two student organizations on campus: Phi Beta Delta and the Public Relations Student Society of America. He oversaw the Communications Week Task Force for four years in the mid-1980s. Upon his retirement in 1993, he moved to San Antonio.
Rayfield is survived by his wife, Ann, his seven children and five grandchildren. Plans are underway to establish a scholarship in his name.