Wife, faculty, friends remember Steve Swope

Assistant professor dies March 7

Shelby Le Duc, Editor in Chief

Media studies Assistant Professor Steve Swope died at the age of 55, following a fall that took place in his home on March 7.

Swope grew up in Dayton, Ohio, and was often referred to as a lover of academia.

After graduating from high school in 1975, he earned his undergraduate degree from Wright State University, located in his hometown.

He later attended graduate school at the University of Pittsburgh, earning a teaching assistantship.

Continuing his interests in education, he pursued his Ph.D. at Purdue University, where he was awarded Outstanding Student for the class of 2007.

Joining the University of Wisconsin-Platteville faculty in 2012, Swope made a lasting impression on his students and colleagues.

His wife Nancy Turner, a history professor and chair of the UW-Platteville Department of Social Sciences, remembers his fun-loving attitude and passion for music and comic books.

“He had a gigantic comic book collection,” Turner said. “He was also very knowledgeable about science fiction.”

Music played a significant role in Swope’s life; he enjoyed playing the electric guitar, owning a total of 12 guitars at one point, according to Turner.

Arthur Ranney, co-worker and friend of Swope, played music with him on occasion and shared many common interests.

“He was a very pleasant guy, and we had great conversations in the office,” Ranney said. “He was very smart and had an analytical mind.”

Swope was intrigued by communication theory and ancient theory, often referencing Aristotle throughout his daily conversations.

Mary Rose Williams, professor of media studies, said that she will remember his sophisticated sense of humor, which Ranney described as “wry.” Swope would often make jokes stemming from his encyclopedic knowledge of classic rock songs.

Co-workers and students would agree that Swope was extremely articulate and had a command of language that brought a lot of different topics to the table.

Turner said that Swope enjoyed his career and time spent at UW-Platteville, but he was most fond of teaching Introduction to Mass Media.

“He loved conveying new information to his students, especially those going into business, and teaching them how to effectively communicate,” Turner said.

Kayla Heise, junior media studies major, had Swope as her professor for Business Communication this semester.

“His lectures were always filled with his own personal jokes that were sure to cause a few giggles from his students,” Heise said. “It is already weird coming into class and not having his jolly presence greet us.”

Although Swope was dedicated to his work, he enjoyed cooking as a personal hobby, especially homemade hummus.

On Friday afternoons, he and his co-workers would get together to socialize at what Ranney described as a “less morose happy hour.”

“He was a very interesting person with a fabulous memory,” Williams said. “He was as personable in class as he was outside of class and very devoted to Nancy. They were a very well-matched couple.”

Turner and Swope shared a love of animals; four cats named Oliver, Murphy, Minnie and Beau were vital parts of their family.

“Everybody brings a certain amount of energy to a group endeavor and when you lose that energy, or a person leaves, some of that energy remains,” Ranney said. “It’s when you feel it or sense it and you know it’s dissipating that it’s hard to not be melancholy about it. He definitely had energy and a presence, and we will miss that about him.”