A memorial service for Dr. Lewis B. O'Donnell, professor
emeritus of communication studies, was held shortly after the Media Summit Oct.
17. 'Doc' O'Donnell began teaching at Oswego State in 1962 and was the
founding chair of the communication studies department. O'Donnell
passed away Aug. 28, and the Media Summit has officially been renamed in his
Leading the memorial service was O’Donnell’s son-in-law, Mike Hoefer. Hoefer
spoke about memories he had of O'Donnell, as well as O'Donnell’s attachment to
Oswego and the college.
“Lew had a fond place in his heart for Oswego and the people he knew in
Oswego,” Hoefer said.
Other members of the family spoke about O'Donnell and had wonderful things
to say about his funny and inspiring nature. O'Donnell’s son Dan
remembers his father encouraging him and helping him through tough times.
“He always had something positive to say if things weren't going right for
me,” Dan said.
President Deborah Stanley, former students and longtime friends of O'Donnell
also shared stories and memories. Al Roker '76, of NBC’s “Today”
show and a past student of O'Donnell's, explained how he was able to relate to
O'Donnell and see him as a real person and as a friend. Roker has fond
memories of O'Donnell's humor, including Doc telling him he had a "face for
"He meant the world to me," Roker said of O'Donnell.
Louis A. Borrelli Jr. '77 also remembers O'Donnell's wit, as well as
his character and integrity.
"You could always rely on him to be honest and fair," Borrelli
The present chair of communication studies Fritz Messere '71 spoke
about his influential experiences with O'Donnell, and then friends were invited
to share their memories. Some remembered Lew and Betty O'Donnell's knack
for surprise parties, some had humorous stories to contribute and others
recalled the enjoyment of simply being in Doc's company.
Those wishing to make a donation in memory of Dr. O’Donnell to help endow
the Dr. Lewis B. O’Donnell Media Summit, can send checks to the Oswego College
Foundation, the Dr. Lewis B. O’Donnell Media Summit, 219 Sheldon Hall, SUNY
Oswego, Oswego, NY 13126.
—Jessica Skeldon '09
Son Dan O'Donnell shares memories of Dr. Lewis B. "Doc" O'Donnell at a
memorial event Oct. 17.
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