Friends and Colleagues Remember Alumnus, Faculty Member Bobby Makar Through Scholarship
Bobby Makar, a name remembered fondly by students and faculty in the School of Media and Journalism (MDJ), was a storyteller, a compassionate friend and inspiring teacher.
He died unexpectedly in November 2020, and since then, more than 100 donations have been made to establish memorial scholarship in his name.
Makar earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from MDJ. He went on to become a cherished adjunct faculty member in the digital media production major and made significant contributions to the curriculum.
Emeritus Associate Professor David Smeltzer, who knew Makar as both a student and faculty colleague, has been a driving force behind establishing the Bobby Makar Memorial Scholarship. Supporters have raised slightly over $20,000 for the scholarship. The goal is to raise $25,000+ so that it can become an endowed fund and awarded annually. It will be awarded to a digital media production student(s).
“Bobby was in one of my first classes, and this kid was just so creative, so talented, so positive, and really had an infectious personality that he was a significant person to me, and certainly made teaching more fun,” Smeltzer said.
Makar took pride in the “nerd” stereotype, loved Halloween, his life partner June Kucalaba and teaching his students.
“I probably learned as much from him as I did teaching him,” Smeltzer said. “He's the kind of professor the students just loved because he's always really curious about what their projects were, what they were working on and seeing when they needed some help. And he was always there to listen.”
Kucalaba said Makar was everything to her, and she hopes the scholarship will create opportunities and inspire hope in people who receive it.
“We met at Kent State, so Kent State has a big place in my heart,” she said. “We were just two peas in a pod. I think I fell in love with his enthusiasm ... It was inspiring. So, he always kept my interest. He was just this kindest soul, and so much fun.”
She said Makar put a lot of thought into his lessons and his students.
“I've heard countless stories of, you know, Bobby going above and beyond for his students, and I know that he loved them,” she said.
“He just wanted to help them in any way he could, with their dreams and aspirations. So, I know he would be ecstatic to know that he was able to do that, and in this way now.”