Educator Touches "Countless Lives"

Passing of Beloved Professor Rozell Duncan Saddens University Community

Rozell Duncan, Ph.D., associate professor in the School of Communication Studies (COMM) at Kent State University, died Aug. 15. She was 67 years old.

Family and friends will celebrate her life at funeral services on Saturday, Aug. 20 at the Catavolos Funeral Home, Rose Hill Burial Park at 3653 W. Market St. in Fairlawn. Visitation hours are from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., with a service immediately following.

“I was so saddened to receive this news,” wrote Beverly Warren, Ph.D., president of Kent State University, in an email to Amy Reynolds, Ph.D., dean of the College of Communication and Information (CCI). “We lost one of the gifted, great ones in Rozell Duncan.  She was always upbeat, seeking the best in others and finding ways to make a difference every day.  She touched countless lives — some we will never know because Rozell did nothing for her own credit but wanted to lift others to their greatest potential.”

Proof of Dr. Duncan’s impact as an educator, mentor, colleague and friend is evident on social media as hundreds share posts of her obituary, condolences and memories.

One of her high-profile former students and Cleveland Browns football player, Josh Cribbs, tweeted: “Heaven’s newest angel is one of my dearest professors, Kent State’s own Rozell Duncan. Life well lived.” Read Cribb’s tweets about Dr. Duncan and see a personal photo of the pair on Twitter @JoshCribbs16.

“Consistent with who Rozell was, she was teaching two courses up until last week even though she was struggling with health issues,” shared COMM Director Elizabeth Graham, Ph.D. “Anyone in Communication Studies will tell you that Rozell was the “heart and soul” of the program. She was the “go-to person” on countless matters because everyone knew she could navigate even the most turbulent waters. Students and colleagues alike flocked to her door because they knew she was there for them. She was a true educator and a generous and kind person.”

Her generosity extended to the time she gave as advisor to both Lambda Phi Eta and Kent Communication Society. Dr. Duncan’s reach also included the regional campuses.

“She's been my mentor for 25 years,” said Lisa Waite, a senior lecturer at Kent State at Stark. “Her legacy is in the thousands of lives she inspired from her exemplary teaching and dedication to the profession and discipline. Simply put, I am a better teacher and person because of her influence. To those who knew her. If you wish to honor Rozell, do a kind deed or speak a kind word to someone who may need it. This would please her.”

Dr. Duncan is survived by her husband, David Duncan; her daughter, Yolanda Duncan; her son-in-law, Allie Wims; two granddaughters, Allison and Alexis Wims; and her grandson, her great-granddaughter and a host of friends and extended family. She also leaves behind her mother, Carrie Mae Tatum, and her sister, Lalita Duke. She was preceded in death by her father, Clifton Hill, Jr., and her brother Andre Hill.

CCI and COMM are discussing ways to honor Dr. Duncan’s legacy. Share your ideas with Reynolds at or with Graham at

POSTED: Friday, August 19, 2016 01:43 PM
UPDATED: Thursday, December 08, 2022 07:05 PM