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The Death of Dr. Bill Kennedy

A dedicated teacher, talented director, valued colleague, and good friend


It is with deep sadness that we announce the death of Dr. Bill Kennedy, professor of Communication and director of Theatre, on Monday, Oct. 4. He was 63. 

“Capital University has lost a vital member of our community,” said Provost Jody Fournier. “Bill was a dedicated teacher, talented director, valued colleague, and good friend. His first priority was always his students and figuring out how he could best meet their needs. An early adapter of remote teaching, Bill was dedicated to ensuring his students’ education was his top priority and that he was able to meet their needs in the classroom, on the stage, and as a mentor after they left the University. My thoughts and prayers go out to his students, friends, and family.” 

President Dave Kaufman added, “I am sorry to say that I did not have the pleasure of meeting Dr. Kennedy in my brief time as president, but I am aware of the profound effect Bill had on his students and colleagues. I know he was special and will be missed. I learned that due to lingering health issues, Bill was unable to work from campus for the last few years. And yet, because of the Capital Family, he was never alone. You lifted his spirits with homemade treats, notes of encouragement and frequent calls just to check on him. You did what Cap Fam does. You cared and were there when he needed you the most.” 

Bill joined the Capital Family in August 1994 and taught Introduction to Theatre, Acting, Directing, Musical Theatre History, Theatre History, History of American Comedy, Stage Magic, and Humanities. In 2009, he was honored as the recipient of the Homer and Isabelle Cotterman Award for Faculty Service to Students. In 2019, he was recognized for 25 years of service to Capital University. 

In addition to his work in the classroom, Bill was an actor, director, playwright, magician, balloon artist, juggler, and clown. He wrote and directed numerous plays for Capital and other colleges and universities, as well as for summer theatre productions – taking on an occasional acting role as necessary, including the part of the Baker’s Wife in Capital’s production of “Aimable.” He had worked with the Cleveland Opera, Actor’s Theatre, Porthouse Theatre, the Ashland Summer Theatre Festival, the Great Meadows Theatre, and the Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera. He was a founding member and playwright for Crossroads Theatre and the Eden Summer Players. He had written plays for a number of churches in Columbus and in New York, Missouri, and Pennsylvania. 

Before coming to Capital, Bill had taught at Clarion University, Arkansas College, Waynesburg College, and John Carroll University. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Communication Arts and Literature from Grove City College; a Master of Arts in Theatre History, Literature and Criticism; and a doctorate in Theatre from Kent State University. While he always enjoyed reading plays, Bill admitted he was “too shy to try out for anything” in high school, finally realizing his passion for the theatre as an undergraduate. 

Survivors include his brother, Chuck. Plans for a campus celebration of Bill’s life will be announced when details are finalized.