Dr. Sammy R Danna, Professor of Communication at Loyola University Chicago for over 40 years and the founder of WLUW-FM 88.7 and the Loyola Radio Conference, died February 23, 2019 at his home from a sudden illness. He had been in retirement for 6 years.
Sammy was born March 26, 1934 in Monroe LA and passed away just shy of his 85th birthday.
After having been graduated from Neville High School, where he was the yearbook photographer and in his senior year he received the American Legion Award, Dr. Danna started his career with a Bachelor in Speech Education, Northeast Louisiana University, now known as ULM. He taught a year at Neville, and during this time there was a contest for the best submission for the Neville Alma Mater. He won, and is the author of Neville’s Alma Mater.
Dr Danna then received a Master of Education, Northeast Louisiana University, which was then followed by a Master of Arts in Speech Education, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge. His studies for his PhD in communications began at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in Rhetoric and Public Address, and was completed at the University of Missouri. He then earned his Masters of Divinity at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, with Dr Danna becoming a Franciscan deacon and residing at St Peter’s Church in Chicago during all his years at Loyola.
Most notable of all his achievements, however, was his passion for the radio which drove him into not only launching the Loyola University radio stations still in operation to this day, he even used some of his own money to fund their initial programming and construction back in 1979.
Dr. Danna, or "Doc", as many of his students and colleagues referred to him, was instrumental in all three Loyola Radio Stations that have graced the school: the old WLT and WLUC and then WLUW. “Additionally he was responsible for the Loyola Radio Conference, which in it's heyday, was THE radio conference to attend if you were part of a college radio.”
Sammy used to give "Sammy Awards" to his highest performing students every year. It was a gold microphone mounted on a piece of white marble, and they are still cherished by those who were awarded.
Dr Danna was professor for Broadcast Law, The Media and Popular Culture, Advertising, and The History of Broadcasting. He wrote several books on the subjects, and was speaker for many conferences both here and abroad. He authored over 80 articles that appeared in professional publications in his field.
Sammy’s ability to tell a story was and will be his legacy. He could put you in stitches, and you asked him to repeat it again and again later for the sheer joy of it all.
Sammy also spent a significant amount of time traveling the world, yet he always made sure to send postcards and bring thoughtful gifts to his family back home. He was an excellent photographer and captured many memories for the family of his travels. He was fluent in Italian, and he especially liked visiting the tombs of St Francis of Assisi, St Anthony of Padua, and St Pio in Italy.
He was a man of many talents, and was a good and faithful servant to all. As those of us left behind well know, "the life of the dead is placed in the memory of the living," so when we think of him let's remember the meals we shared at his table, the cadence of his voice, and the integrity in which he lived in this world. We are all richer for having known him and will miss him dearly. He waits for us in eternal light.
The cherished memory of our kind and wonderful brother is left to his surviving siblings, Theresa Coco (Gary) of Lafayette LA, Tony Danna of Monroe LA, and Betty Gilreath (Dr Wayne Gilreath) of Mount Airy NC, and neices and nephews.
Sammy was preceded in death by his parents, Joe and Lena Danna, and sister, Mary Louise Danna.
Visitation will be at Mulhearn Funeral Home, 2308 Sterlington Road, Monroe, LA 71203, Thursday February 28, 2019 from 5pm to 7pm, with a short prayer service commencing at 6pm. Funeral mass will be at St Matthews Catholic Church, 121 Jackson St, Monroe, LA 71201 on Friday, March 1, 2019, at 11AM.
Pallbearers will be Greg Coco, Wayne Magdziarz, James Wagner, John Kosiba, and Mike Inzina.
Honorary pallbearers will be Norman Coco, Jeremy Gilreath, Dr. Steve Moyer, Steve Culos, and the alumni of WLUW-FM 88.7 and the Loyola Radio Conference.
The family would like to thank Wayne Magdziarz, Sr Vp-Cfo & Chief Business Officer of Loyola University Chicago, and Dr. Steve Moyer, PhD for their great assistance with spreading the word of Dr. Danna’s passing and the wonderful tributes and photos forwarded to us. And for being great and enjoyable friends to Sammy for over 40 years.
If anyone wishes to know what to do to in Sammy’s memory, you may contribute to a worthwhile charity that by its nature and workings shows true charity.
As a final goodbye, a few comments from those who knew him at Loyola, similar sentiments that were repeated over and over, once news of his death spread:
“The only professor whose name I still remember. He cleared the path, directly or indirectly, for so many of our careers. I’m so grateful. Safe travels Doc. Enjoy your Baroque music with the angels. Rest In Peace old friend.”
“Today we lost a great one - a man with a heart of gold. Doc did what he believed in - and believed in those he knew - that never faltered.”
“Doc was loved by so many and he will live on in the stories and memories we continue to share with each other.”
“Thank you Dr. Danna for all you did for us, and for me personally. My life is significantly richer because of you. “
“He was just a wonderful teacher, academic advisor and cheerleader for WLUW and Loyola. What a wonderful life he led. So glad I had the opportunity to be one of his students.”
“This is sad news. A glass of vino for Doc this evening... Rest In Peace with the Lord Doc Danna”
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