The NIU community is mourning the death of Arthur Paul Doederlein, a dedicated and beloved professor in the Department of Communication who, over the course of more than four decades, made an impact on the lives of thousands of students.
Doederlein, 70, died Friday, Aug. 24, at Kishwaukee Community Hospital, with his family by his side and in the arms of his loving wife Sue, who serves as associate dean for undergraduate affairs in the NIU College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
Born Aug. 21, 1942, in Toledo, Ohio, Arthur was the son of Arthur John Leonard Doederlein and Erna Alvina Herzberg Doederlein. He married his high school sweetheart, the former Sue Ann Warrick, on Sept. 8, 1962. Although his proud parents never studied beyond the eighth grade, Arthur went on to earn his B.A. degree from DePauw University in Greencastle, Ind., as a Rector Scholar, and his M.A and Ph.D. degrees from Northwestern University.
Arthur studied at Northwestern under the auspices of an N.D.E.A. Fellowship and with the additional support he received as a Danforth Fellow Associate. While at Northwestern, where he served for a year as a faculty member, Arthur received the Outstanding Teacher Award from the School of Speech. When he received the analogous Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award at Northern Illinois University in 1994, he observed that it took longer to earn such recognition at NIU because Northern students were a “tougher crowd.”
On Sept. 8, 1969, Arthur and Sue joined the faculty at NIU. It was their seventh anniversary and the beginning of a new love – a true passion for NIU and its extraordinary students.
Arthur served for more than 30 years as the undergraduate studies director in the Department of Communication. In that capacity he advised thousands of students, spending countless hours assisting students in planning their academic programs and counseling them about graduate and professional schools and career opportunities.
Among his earliest assignments at Northern was as a professor in the CHANCE program, and his involvement with that ethnically diverse and very special population remained a center of his professional life. In recognition of his service to the CHANCE program, he received a special award to acknowledge his continuing commitment to some of Northern’s most important graduates.
As part of his passionate commitment to students, Doederlein served on many university committees, always choosing those whose purview made a real difference in students’ lives. He was a member of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Curriculum Committee; he served on the Admission Policies and Academic Standards Committee and the Academic Planning Council, which he served as secretary; and he chaired the Undergraduate Coordinating Council.
Doederlein retired from the university in 2010.
Among Arthur’s and Sue’s finest achievements are their two children, Arthur Allen Doederlein and Catherine Warrick Doederlein. He is survived by his wife, his son (husband Jeffrey Bouthiette) and his daughter.
Although he was not removed from life support until three days later, Arthur’s family believes he died on his seventieth birthday, a symmetry he would have enjoyed. He leaves a legacy of thousands of graduates along with his loving family.
In accordance with his wishes, there will be no funeral. The family will hold a celebration of his life at a future date. Cremation is being handled by Ronan-Moore-Finch Funeral Home. The family requests that in lieu of flowers donations be made to the Arthur Paul Doederlein Memorial Fund, c/o Ronan-Moore-Finch Funeral Home, 310 Oak St., DeKalb, Ill., 60115.