Dennis Wignall, a professor who taught at Utah Tech University from 2004-2022, is remembered as an invested, outspoken and supportive leader.
Wignall started at Utah Tech July 1st, 2004, in the Fine Arts department. He, along with other professors, helped develop the communication department and evolve into the university with the programs it has today. Wignall also was instrumental in creating the evening cohort program for non-traditional students to attend school one night a week.
Rhiannon Bent, Department chair and assistant professor said: “We were hired in the same year in 2004, and we were in the Fine Arts program together. That was back in the days when we didn’t have a communication department or degree. We were really just getting started.”
In 2015, when the communication department and media studies department split, Wignall worked in the communication department and led classes mostly relating to organizational communication.
In addition, Bent, who was previously the adviser for Sun News Daily, said: “He always followed along with Sun News and was so complimentary. He also made it a point to compliment the students for the work they were doing and give words of encouragement.”
Wignall served on the faculty senate and was known for having strong opinions, while backing them up and sticking to what he said.
Bryan Jacobs, a Senior academic adviser for college of humanities and social sciences, remembers Wignall as an “Avid outdoorsman, marathon runner and bicycle riding competitor.” Wignall had a lot of energy and enthusiasm toward southern Utah outdoor activities and wrote some books on it as well.
During Wignall’s last year teaching at Utah Tech, he received the Emeritus Award, which is given to professors who are extremely dedicated to their students and furthering the progress for the university. These recipients are known to be active in the community as well.
The University and Marketing Communications Team sent out an email regarding Wignall to all faculty and staff members. The email reported: “At this time, we do not yet have information about services to honor him but wanted to share what we have learned.”
Dr. Wignall lived in Leadville, Colorado, after retiring from Utah Tech. He moved to be closer to his family in Denver, Colorado. He passed away from continuous health issues.
The university’s faculty, staff and students will remember Wignall and how his help has advanced Utah Tech into what the school is today.