A retired SU professor receives a dedication | The life
The 50 years spent at the school by retired Susquehanna University communications and drama professor Larry Augustine were recently recognized by the dedication on his behalf of studio WQSU, the campus radio station that he helped create.
The grand opening of the Larry Augustine Studio at WQSU took place last month, much to Augustine’s surprise.
“When they unveiled that plaque, he put his face in his hands,” Augustine’s friend Bob Stahl said. “He deserves it after all these years.”
WQSU general manager Dawn Benfer agrees.
“Prof. Augustine gave 50 years to college and radio,” she said. “He wouldn’t be here without his dedication.”
The studio’s naming was not only an acknowledgment of Augustine’s involvement with WQSU, where he served as general manager when it began broadcasting in May 1967 until his retirement in 2016, but for his work in establishing and expanding university communication and theater programs.
Augustine was hired as a debate coach at Susquehanna in 1966 and a few years later took over as head of the speech and drama department, a position he held for 35 years.
Shortly after starting her tenure at college, Augustine, who had some radio experience, was approached by students starting a radio club and asked to serve as an advisor to help start a station. student-run campus radio station.
“I have agreed, under the provision, that the radio station be placed under the auspices of the speech department,” he said of his goal to keep the effort under some kind of control. .
Early in his career, he helped propose a change in the way the music department staged musicals by suggesting that they collaborate with the theater department, which they continue to do today.
“They staged the musical like an opera. There was no movement,” recalls Augustine.
Another lasting impact he has had on the university is his work in expanding academic programs.
At the beginning of his career, there were two majors in the speech and theater department which in a few years became the communication and theater department with about twenty majors.
About 10 years ago, the theater and communication departments were separated into their own departments.
“When I retired, we had 270 majors in the communications department,” Augustine said. “It’s one of the biggest departments on campus.”
In addition to her work with students, Augustine served for over three decades as the principal of the Selinsgrove Area School Board.
“I am an educator. I want our students to succeed with a good education” while remaining fiscally responsible to taxpayers, he said.
Benfer said Augustine has been her mentor since she joined college six years ago.
“He’s a wonderful man,” she said. “He’s always ready to lend an ear and give advice.”
Augustine is also well known in the community for the extensive Christmas display at his Monroe Township home.
“We started this in 1985. That Christmas we decorated the weeping cherry tree in our front yard and put lights in the window,” Augustine said. “Over the years, we kept looking for things to display. Every year it gets a little bigger. »
In his heyday, lights and decorations covered his home and two-lot property.
But, health issues led him to drastically cut back on holiday postings.
“I’ve heard from a lot of people over the past two years,” Augustine said of residents wondering if the signage will be up.
While audiences may not get a chance to enjoy the sprawling Christmas decorations at home, there will always be a reminder of Augustine’s impact at Susquehanna.
“I am so surprised by the (dedication of the studio). The studio is the main location where all the action takes place,” he said.