Professor Luecke set to retire this Spring

By Chelsie Gastright, Organizations Editor

April 10, 2013

IMG_0275When John Luecke, associate professor of strategic communication, arrived at High Point University in the fall of 2008, he was given the task of developing a strategic communication degree track at the undergraduate level.

For the past five years, Luecke developed the curriculum, taught several strategic communication and public relations courses, and was the advisor for the Public Relations Student Society of America chapter on campus.

However, at the end of this spring semester, Luecke will be saying goodbye to the HPU family as he retires from teaching.

“I am so lucky to have been given the opportunity to meet with Professor Luecke on several occasions,” said Taylor Renwick, a strategic communication major. “He has taught me invaluable life lessons that will follow me into my later years. The knowledge he possesses is impressive and I thank him for sharing bits of that knowledge with me.”

Before arriving at HPU, Luecke spent 15 years at University of Wisconsin-Whitewater teaching strategic communication courses and helping the program develop its public relations major. He also worked in the industry for 13 years in non-profit organizations.

Dr. Wilfred Tremblay, dean of the Nido R. Qubein School of Communication, had known Luecke for 14 years when they worked together at UW-Whitewater. When a position opened in the HPU School of Communication, Tremblay was confident he wouldn’t find a better fit.

“He is passionate about public relations and strategic communication, and is a very hard worker who does a lot of the nitty-gritty stuff that make great departments,” said Tremblay. “He knows the industry and he’s student-focused. That’s a hard combination to find.”

Luecke has been in the teaching profession since the 1970s, but he explained that his experience at HPU was a unique and beneficial experience.

“I had a chance to start with a clean piece of paper in terms of developing the curriculum,” explained Luecke. “Our curriculum in strategic at the undergraduate level is a little different than other schools. What we’ve tried to do is really bridge advertising and PR.”

Even though he has enjoyed his time teaching both at and away from HPU, Luecke can’t help but be a little excited about his first few years of retirement.

“I’m not going to be grading papers for a while,” said Luecke, laughing. He and his wife are planning to move from the Triad area at the end of this spring semester.

Luecke’s retirement won’t last long, though. In spring of 2014 he will come back part-time to be involved in the faculty-in-residence program in Prague. After teaching in the study abroad program, Luecke has no definitive plans for his retirement.

In only five years, Luecke made effective changes to the strategic communication curriculum and helped guide the campus chapter of PRSSA to new heights. Beyond all of his achievements academically, the biggest impact he has had is with the students, faculty and staff he worked with on a daily basis.

“Professor Luecke is an amazing professor, advisor, and friend here at HPU,” said Renwick. “He is by far one of the most helpful individuals I have ever met … I would not be where I am today if it weren’t for him. Professor Luecke will be greatly missed.”