Potter College News
WKU marks passing of Dr. Randall Capps
- Jessica Luna, Potter College of Arts & Letters
- Friday, February 4th, 2022
Dr. Randall Capps, founding department head of the Department of Communication and Professor Emeritus, died Wednesday, February 2. He was 85.
In 1962, Dr. Capps started as an instructor in the Department of English. After assisting Dr. Russell Miller with his speech and theatre classes, former Dean of the College, Dr. Raymond Cravens, asked him to stay and teach speech courses as well as manage the forensics program. The partnership with Dr. Miller and Dr. Capps would result in the creation of the first oratory-related majors in WKU history: Speech and Speech and Theatre. Because of his passion for speech and theatre, Dr. Capps founded the Department of Speech and Theatre in 1968. (The Department of Speech and Theatre would later be renamed to the Department of Communication.)
He served as the Department Head for nearly 20 years in three stints between 1968 and 1995 and became the longest-serving head in the department’s history. Dr. Capps has been described by Professor Emeritus Dr. Larry Winn as “the Department of Communication’s equivalent to Henry Hardin Cherry.” His energetic leadership skills and penchant for excellence allowed the department to grow and thrive. His hard work as a department head won him multiple awards, including the University Research Award.
“Randy Capps is a legend at WKU and in the Department of Communication. I first met him when I was a master’s student in the late ’70s. His teaching, mentoring, and consulting work set a model for engaged and practical scholarship,” said Dr. Helen Sterk, professor and former department chair in the Department of Communication. “Always, he navigated a through-line of excellence, including community involvement, leadership development, and service to the university.”
In 1994, Dr. Capps transitioned from the Department of Communication to the Gordon Ford College of Business, where he taught organizational leadership and management courses for the Master of Business Administration program. He also founded his company, Leadership Strategies Group, that same year.
“Dr. Capps has left a lasting impact on the Gordon Ford College of Business. He served on our Business Advisory Council, taught Management courses in our MBA program, and helped establish a scholarship for international students,” said Dr. Chris Shook, Dean of the Gordon Ford College of Business. “Dr. Capps had a strong commitment to students. He spent countless hours in and out of the classroom, helping students learn networking skills and introducing them to members of the business community. Dr. Capps made everyone feel important. We are thankful for his influence and investment in GFCB.”
In addition to his work in the Potter College of Arts and Letters and the Gordon Ford College of Business, Dr. Capps also helped create and develop the Educational Leadership Doctoral Program in the College of Education and Behavioral Sciences.
“Dr. Capps was a beloved faculty member. He worked tirelessly in dedication to the Ed.D. program and its students, supporting and advocating for them as recently as this week,” said Dr. Nick Brake, director of the Ed.D. program. “We are forever indebted to his leadership and vision for our program. He will be missed.”
Contact: Jessica Luna,(270) 745-3259 or email@example.com