Remembering a Communications Pioneer
Gift honors alumna Bobbie Dietrich
Born in the small community of Peeltown, Texas in 1927, the late Bobbie Dietrich was destined to become an international communications pioneer. In the 1950s and 60s, she taught speech and drama in 12 countries throughout Europe, Asia and the Middle East. In 1963, she went on to earn a master's degree in speech and drama from The University of Texas at Austin. And in her 1978 dissertation, she correctly predicted that online education would eventually become ubiquitous.
It's fitting then that Room 3.204 of the College of Communication's Belo Center for New Media has been named after Bobbie and her husband Wilfred Dietrich. The naming honors a $100,000 gift that Wilfred recently provided with the goal of continuing Bobbie's legacy.
"I gave the gift to honor Bobbie, and to encourage others to give to the university," Dietrich said. "UT is still a model for all the universities in Texas."
Bobbie began her teaching career with the international American school system, which educated children of U.S. diplomats. She taught in Mannheim and Frankfurt, Germany; Hakata, Japan; Clark Air Force Base, Philippines; Ankara, Turkey; London; France; Preswick, Scotland; Peshawar, Pakistan; and Soesterberg, the Netherlands. She also taught for the University of Maryland in Pakistan.
In 1966, Bobbie joined the English Department faculty at Blinn College in Brenham, Texas. It was there that she met Wilfred, who taught English, history and German. Both in their 40s, they married a few years later. Teaching for 25 years at Blinn, Bobbie became director of speech communications and started the college’s theater program. Bobbie taught for 40 years, while Wilfred taught for 58 years.
The two also volunteered at the George Bush Presidential Library in College Station, Texas and founded the Brenham Heritage Museum. Bobbie was active in the Daughters of the American Revolution and Daughters of the Republic of Texas, as well.
They were married for 40 years before Bobbie passed away in 2009.
In addition to providing a gift to the College in 2012, Dietrich and various donors established an endowment in 2010 for the Dr. Bobbie Morrow Dietrich Scholarship in Communication.
"I think it's a lovely building," Dietrich said, adding that his holiday cards this year will feature a photo of the Belo Center.
Laura Byerley, (512) 471-2182