Banda leaves indelible mark on UW-Platteville

Colleagues and students describe Media Studies Lecturer Daniel Banda as a very friendly, passionate and hard-working person.

Banda died at age 57 in his home on Oct. 15, reportedly due to an aneurism. The fall 2014 semester was Banda’s first term of employment at UW-Platteville.

“One thing I liked about Dan is that he worked at integrating himself into the department. He would talk to me about the Packers or whatever was going on,” Media Studies Professor Robert Snyder said.

“He was a fun person who would do anything he could to succeed at whatever project he happened to be working on,” junior engineering physics major and Station Manager of WSUP, Austin Betz, said.

Banda enjoyed teaching what he knew to students and helping them advance academically.

“One of his strengths was that he could inspire students in terms of generating content that was unique and that is not easy to do,” Snyder said. “The sad part is he could cover so many different things, and we just won’t know what he could have contributed to the department.”

Although Banda was very knowledgeable about photography, filmmaking and broadcasting, he was still always looking to learn more from his colleagues.

”Ever since day one he was trying to get to know the [Platteville] area and get to know what kind of practice we implemented in our classes,” Media Studies Assistant Professor Hao Chen said. “He was willing to learn from other people and share what he already knew with others.”

This semester Banda was appointed as the adviser for the student radio station, WSUP.

“He got them more pumped up about it,” Media Studies Academic Department Associate Becky Troy said. “He listened to their ideas and shared his ideas with them and they were excited about the direction he wanted to take WSUP.”

Banda inspired and motivated the students working at WSUP with his ideas and knowledge.

“He gave us a new energy,” Betz said. “We were kind of slowing down and running out of steam, and he came and gave us a ton of new ideas and gave us the ambition to actually do them.”

“He had a lot of ideas about everything. Whether it was the station’s physical being or the idea that he wanted the station to portray and how he wanted people to see it,” junior animal science major and Program Director of WSUP, Betsy Heidt, said.

There was a mark left on WSUP by Banda, and students hope to branch off of his long-term goals for the station.

“Even though he was only here for a few weeks, he’s left years worth of impressions on us,” Heidt said.

Outside of teaching at UW-P, Banda was also working on his doctorate at UW-Madison. His dissertation was about mineral rights in Africa and the use of these minerals in the production of cellphones.

Banda was an avid filmmaker and won several awards for his documentaries. He created a three-part Emmy Award-winning PBS special on Mexican immigration.

“It is really rare to hire such a high-quality candidate for our department. He wanted to stay here and share his knowledge with the students,” Chen said.

The visitation and funeral service was held on Oct. 22 in Oconomowoc.

“As much as I respected him professionally, I am going to miss him as a friend even more,” Media Studies Department Chair Arthur Ranney said.