The Department of Communication suffered a great loss at the beginning of this year. Dr. Tammy Jeffries passed away on Friday, January 17th of natural causes. Dr. Jeffries was only with the department for a short time, but during that time, she was able to influence the lives of so many of her students. Her time in the Department of Communication was spent as an Assistant Professor and Minority Post-doctoral Fellow. She was able to bring a new style and light into the courses she taught for the department. The passing of Dr. Jeffries has influenced the department and students but her time in the department was valued greatly by all.
When the Department of Communication announced that Dr. Jeffries had passed, students immediately took to the department’s Facebook page to post their condolences and share how much they would miss Dr. Jeffries. Emily Green shared, “When I think of Dr. Jeffries I remember the way that she was able to light up a room with a simple, casual conversation. She had a gift that she could make an entire class of different backgrounds feel comfortable discussing any topic, which isn’t always the easiest to do.” Talking about Dr. Jeffries with other students and hearing stories about her made me realize that I was truly one of the lucky students who had the opportunity to take one of her classes. From the first day of class, it was clear she was unique. On day one, she made the effort to learn about every student and make sure the entire class felt comfortable. As the semester continued, she made the same effort day after day to connect to her students and create an open dialogue with the entire class. I can personally say her class was one of my favorite classes because it was so different and full of the optimism Dr. Jeffries brought to everything she did.
The impact Dr. Jeffries made on her students was clearly enormous, but she also was able to benefit the university as a whole by founding the interCULTURAL Club. The interCULTURAL club was created to promote equality among races, religions, ages and abilities. This concept of a club including individuals from a variety of cultures was new to WKU. Dr. Jeffries always believed in true equality and believed that communication was the key to resolving many of those issues.
Dr. Jeffries was more to her students than just a professor, she was more to her colleagues than just a member of the department, and she was more to the university than just another employee; she was a friend, a special individual, and a light to everyone’s day. The people she was able to connect with while at WKU for such a short time will remember her impact for a long time to come. The faculty and students that knew her will miss her presence and unique spirit being part of our Department of Communication. The department is setting up an award for excellence in Interracial Communication in her name.
~Sydney Bickett, Student