Rosanna Taylor Herndon, PhD, Professor Emeritus of Communication at Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, died on January 14, 2021. She was 91.
Rosanna Taylor Herndon was born in Brownwood, Texas and grew up in Sweetwater, Texas. She earned a BA at Baylor University and a Master's Degree in Communication from Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas. There she raised two children with the loving support of her husband, Doyle Preston Herndon, who preceded her in death in 1987.
Rosanna Herndon earned her PhD in Communications at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale in 1973. Her dissertation, which describes the encounter of readers with poetry as a category of communication, sparked keen interest among professors from multiple fields of research including communications, theater, literature, philosophy, and psychology.
Dr. Herndon served on the faculties of Texas Christian University and Southern Methodist University before joining Hardin-Simmons University as faculty and chair of the Department of Communication and Theatre where she taught until her retirement. She was a President and Life Member of the Texas Speech Communication Association; guest lecturer on several university campuses in the US and the UK; and author-presenter of a Master Teacher Video Series called "Key Concepts in the Oral Performance of Literature." She wrote and directed numerous reader's theatre productions and sat on the editorial boards of three professional journals.
Dr. Herndon was much loved by her university students. She was the recipient of a Piper Professor Award for superior teaching at the college level in the State of Texas.
In 1977, Dr. Herndon began a second career as a professional storyteller and presented five summer intensives for experienced storytellers in the United States and the UK. Rosanna Herndon was a national award-winning storyteller and featured workshop presenter at festivals across the United States, including the National Storytelling Festival. She was a charter member of the Tejas Storytelling Association and founder of the Mesquite Storytellers of Abilene. She released four collections of stories on audio in the 1990s. Two of her stories are included in Best Stories from the Texas Storytelling Festival, and a collection of her West Texas stories, The Line from Here to There: A Storyteller's Scottish West Texas, was published by Texas Tech University Press in 2008. The Texas Storytelling Association presented Dr. Herndon with the John Henry Faulk Award in 2018, in recognition of her significant contribution to the art of storytelling in the Southwest.
Rosanna Herndon was a valued member of the Abilene Kiwanis Club for many years.
Dr. Rosanna Herndon is survived by a son, Richard E. Miller of Weatherford, Texas, a daughter, Cecilia E. Miller of Seattle, and two grandsons, Grayson Miller and Matthew Kritsberg.
The funeral service for Dr. Herndon will be livestreamed on Friday, January 21, 2022, at 1:00 p.m. from Elmwood Funeral Home in Abilene, Texas.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Meals on Wheels or to the Charlie G. Taylor Rotary Scholarship, Office of Institutional Advancement, UTPB, 4901 East University, Odessa Texas 79762
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