ROCHESTER, NY — It is with great sadness that we share with you the news that Dr. Diane S. Hope, Professor Emerita, Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), after a long struggle with cancer, passed away Tuesday, 25 September at home, with her husband, Warren, and son, David, at her side. Diane spent 28 years at RIT as a valuable member of the university community, and was one of the founding members of the Department of Communication in the College of Liberal Arts.
Prior to RIT, Diane was a professor for seven years at the State University of New York at Buffalo as well as at Randolph Macon Women’s College in Lynchburg, VA for two years. It was after a natural disaster in Florida that prevented her and her family from continuing to follow their dream of having their own organic farm that Diane accepted her position at RIT.
During her time at RIT, Diane held a number of positions, including: Chair of Professional and Technical Communication; Caroline Werner Gannett Professor in the Humanities; Interim Dean of the College of Liberal Arts; and William A. Kern Professor in Communications. Her contributions to the RIT community were significant and long-lasting.
Diane was an exceptional teacher and scholar. She published in the areas of visual communication and the rhetoric of social change. Recent publications included Earthwork (2001), a special issue of Women’s Studies Quarterly devoted to women and the environment. Diane was general editor of Women’s Studies Quarterly (2002-2005). She received the National Communication Association award for excellence in research from the Visual Communication Division in 2004. Aside from her numerous publications, as Kern Professor, Diane hosted four conferences around the theme of visual communication and hosted four conferences at RIT on women’s issues with the Feminist Press. She won the 2007 National Communication Association Visual Communication Division Research Excellence Award for her book, Visual Communication: Perception, Rhetoric and Technology (2006). In addition, Diane possessed an unrelenting commitment to serving others. As the Gannett Chair, she instituted service learning in what was then known as Senior Seminar, and she was always willing to volunteer her time and energy for the good of the larger community. This commitment to service extended beyond RIT, where Diane’s passion for protecting pristine wilderness for future generations led to her involvement in a number of environmental activities.
Diane was a mentor who was always willing to let faculty bend her ear on issues that we all face as we make our way through our sometimes bumpy academic careers. We will greatly miss her.
A memorial service for Diane will take place on Saturday, October 6, at 2 p.m. on the RIT campus, in the Fireside Lounge of the Student Alumni Union.
Heather Crandall and Keith B. Jenkins