Robert C. Jeffrey Endowed Presidential Scholarship in Communication
Robert Jeffrey was born in San Antonio, Texas, on November 11, 1927. His name was changed to Robert Campbell Jeffrey after the stock market crash in 1929 to honor a family friend who took his own life after losing everything he owned. Robert grew up with his twin brother, Edgar, one older sister, Margaret, and two older brothers, Jack and Richard, in a small home near what is now downtown San Antonio.
Duty came first, however, and in May of 1945 Bob enlisted in the Navy, serving for two years. Among his shipboard duties was the management of the ship’s ice cream stand. In February 1947 Bob and Marjorie married. Taking advantage of the GI Bill, Bob enrolled at the University of Iowa in Iowa City for the 1947 fall term. He worked as a meat packer, sold encyclopedias, and held other jobs during the summer to supplement his family’s income.
Living in a trailer, then student barracks, Bob’s young family began to grow as he earned first his bachelor’s and then his master’s degree from the University of Iowa. During those years he taught at Cornell College in Mt. Vernon, Iowa, as well as the University of Iowa.
The Jeffrey family moved to Charlottesville, Virginia, when Bob was offered a teaching position at the University of Virginia. Bob worked on a PhD in speech communication at night while teaching during the day. By 1958, Bob and Marjorie had four children. Then “Dr.” Jeffrey took his family to Indiana to assume a post at Indiana University, which he held until 1968.
In 1968 Dr. Jeffrey was offered the position of chairman of the Department of Speech Communication at The University of Texas at Austin. Throughout his time at the University, Dr. Jeffrey distinguished himself as chairman, as interim dean, and finally dean of the college he loved so much.
Update: Dr. Jeffrey passed away in April, 2000.