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Hummert, Mary Lee

Mary Lee
Hummert, PhD
Year Inducted: 
Mary Lee Hummert
  • Editor of two major books on communication and aging
  • Awarded the Giles-Nussbaum Distinguished Scholar Award from the Commission on Communication and Aging of the National Communication Association
  • Received W.T. Kemper Fellowship Award for Excellence in Teaching

Dr. Mary Lee Hummert, is described by her colleague Dr. Robert C. Roland as, “that rare academic who is a terrific teacher, outstanding scholar, and a wonderful colleague.”  Dr. Hummert’s talent and dedication as a professor, administrator, researcher, and mentor cannot be emphasized enough and are a source of inspiration to all with whom she comes in contact.  Former colleague, Jake Harwood, describes her as a, “teacher of the highest quality, among the most respected scholars in her field of communication nationwide, a beneficial mentor and a truly phenomenal servant to the University of Kansas.”

Dr. Hummert received her PhD from The University of Kansas and then began her teaching career in the Communications Studies Department.  She worked her way through the ranks as an Instructor, Assistant Professor and then Associate Professor.  Dr. Hummert is lauded as an outstanding teacher.  She is known for the time, care and attention she directs to each student as well as her ability to challenge thinking and integrate learning into students’ real life experiences.  In her work as a graduate advisor, she has nurtured young scholars and helped them grow and develop through their doctoral programs.  Dr. Hummert’s record as a scholar is incredible as well.  She has served as the editor of two major books on communication and aging, has written numerous articles and book chapters, and is currently working on a major book in the field.  As Dr. Diana Carlin, Dean of the Graduate School and International Programs stated, “ As a scholar, she has led the way on developing gerontology as a sub-discipline in Communication Studies.   As the population in the United States and the world continues to age, her work will continue to gain more importance. The interdisciplinary program at KU has benefited greatly from her hard work and dedication.” During this time, Dr. Hummert also published many works on topics such as aging, communication, public speaking, and language performance.  She also has been instrumental in planning international conferences on aging, health, and communication.  Dr. Hummert has been recognized for her work in academe and was awarded the Giles-Nussbaum Distinguished Scholar Award from the Commission on Communication and Aging of the National Communication Association.  She was also the recipient of the W.T. Kemper Fellowship Award, one of the top awards given for excellence in teaching at The University of Kansas.   

Due to her exceptional skills as an educator, scholar, administrator and collaborator, Dr. Hummert was selected to serve as Interim Vice Provost for Student Support this last academic year.  As Senior Vice Provost, Dr. Kathleen McCluskey-Fawcett stated, “Mary Lee has done a wonderful job this year in all aspects of this position.  Her focus has been on what is best for our students and all of her decisions are based on that perspective.  She has worked closely with student officers and been very responsive to their concerns.” She goes on to say, “I can’t think of anyone who could have done a better job and will miss working with her in this capacity next year.”     

In recognizing Dr. Hummert’s past achievements, the Commission is very eager to see what the future holds.  We believe Dr. Hummert has many more extraordinary contributions to make.  We believe she is a rare gem that our university is privileged to call a Jawhawk.  Dr. Harwood stated it best when he said, “She is a tireless worker for the university, a talented teacher and scholar, and a superb mentor.  The University of Kansas is meaningfully a richer place for her presence there.  I truly hope that you will provide her the honor of placing her in the Hall of Fame.  She deserves it on every front imaginable.”  

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