Published: July 30, 2018

Brad Greenberg, University Distinguished Professor Emeritus, dies

Contact(s): Nicole Szymczak College of Communication Arts and Sciences office: (517) 353-5981

Brad Greenberg, Michigan State University Distinguished Professor Emeritus, died July 26 after a battle with cancer.

Greenberg joined the Department of Communication at Michigan State University in 1964. While at MSU, he became a recognized leader in the formation and evolution of the communication discipline, particularly as a proponent of research on motivations for individual’s use of various media and its effects. 

He conducted ground-breaking research on uses and gratifications of television among youth, as well as documenting media portrayals of minorities. Several of his studies on sexuality in the media have become touchstones in the scientific literature. Greenberg’s research laid the groundwork for exploring many of the challenges faced today with the rise of new technologies and social networks.

“Brad shaped the research and intellectual environment of our college for many years,” said Johannes Bauer, chairperson of the Department of Media and Information. “His numerous contributions to the scientific community include more than 200 articles in peer-reviewed journals, editorial roles for several journals and his commitment as a dedicated mentor to many students and colleagues.”

His former students can be found across world and include five Fellows of the International Communication Association, Bauer said.

During his tenure at MSU, Greenberg served as acting dean of the College of Communication Arts and Sciences, chairperson of the Department of Communication and later as the chairperson of the Department of Telecommunications. He was recognized as an MSU Distinguished Professor in 1990 and served as a visiting professor at universities around the world. 

“Brad has been associated with the college for over five decades, leaving behind a rich legacy of intellectual contributions and emotional ties,” said Prabu David, dean of the College of Communication Arts and Sciences.“His contributions will remain an integral part of the fabric of our college.” 

Greenberg was the recipient of numerous awards over his career, including a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Association of Broadcasters, the Aubrey Fisher Mentorship Award and the Steve Chaffee Career Productivity Award, both from the International Communication Association. He was elected Fellow of ICA in 1983 and served as president of ICA from 1994-1995. His work was supported by over 25 organizations, including: ABC and CBS, the Carnegie Corp., Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, the National Academy of Sciences, the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation.

While his legacy is grounded in research, he was a dedicated teacher and outstanding mentor who inspired and empowered his students.  

“We’ll miss him, his intellect and his very dry wit,” said Lucinda Davenport, director of the School of Journalism.

Tributes and memories can be shared on the Facebook page, Remembering Brad Greenberg 

In lieu of flowers, the Greenberg family wishes donations bemade to MSU College of Communication Arts and Sciences Empower Extraordinary Campaign. 

Greenberg’s memorial service will be at 2 p.m. Wednesday at the Kellogg Center.

University Distinguished Professor Emeritus Brad Greenberg

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