Ken Rhon Johnson

Ken Rhon Johnson (’86, ’92 M.S., ’02 Ph.D.), 60, of Alpine, a former lecturer in the history department, died in May 2022. He first began working at UNT in 1989 and served as a teaching assistant, teaching fellow, adjunct and lecturer from 1997 to 2014. He was a member of the Renaissance Society of America and taught classes on the Italian Renaissance, the Enlightenment, the ancient Near East, world history and U.S. history. He also served as undergraduate advisor in the department. He was interested in paleography and performed original research and translation in Italian and Latin. A three-time UNT alumnus, he earned a bachelor’s in literature with a minor in political science, a master’s in history with a minor in English, and a doctorate in modern European history. His 2002 dissertation -- Lucca in the Signoria of Paolo Guinigi, 1400-1430 -- won the Arts and Sciences Dean’s Dissertation Award for Research Achievement in the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences. He also ran marathons and loved to travel, with the island of Crete being his favorite destination.

Marilyn Morris

Marilyn Morris, 65, a professor of history who helped develop the LGBTQ Studies program at UNT, died Aug. 17. She came to UNT in 1991 as an expert in 18th century British political and cultural history and also enjoyed teaching courses on Louis XIV and the Enlightenment. Through her 31 years at the university, she sought to bring a voice to the LGBTQ community, said Clark Pomerleau, associate professor of history, in a statement.

She began by rethinking categories and promoting LGBTQ history. She helped found the Study of Sexualities program in 2003 with other faculty members, obtaining funding for the program and serving as its director for six years. When the name changed to LGBT Studies in 2009, she co-directed the program for another five years.

Her research included areas such as transgendered perspectives, queer identity, domesticity and 18th century gender transgression, among many others. She wrote two books -- The British Monarchy and the French Revolution in 1998 and Sex, Money and Personal Character in Eighteenth-Century British Politics in 2014 – and was writing a third with the working title The Theatre of Matrimony in Georgian Britain.

The Marilyn Morris Award for Outstanding Academic Contributions to LGBTQ Studies was named in her honor, and she received the inaugural award in 2019.

She joined UNT after a three-year stint as assistant editor of the papers of Benjamin Franklin at Yale University. She also worked as a research assistant for the Bentham Project at University College in London.

She earned her bachelor’s degree from Hampshire College in 1979 and her doctorate from the University of London, England, in 1988.

Randolph B. "Mike" Campbell

Randolph B. 'Mike' Campbell, Professor Emeritus of history -- who redefined the model for grassroots research in the field and changed the way Texas' past is understood -- died Aug. 13. He retired in 2019 after teaching at UNT for 53 years.

“He served as a leading force in transforming the UNT history department into a research powerhouse, an exemplar of compassionate teaching and an incubator of innovative graduate teaching,” history professor Andrew Torget said in a statement.

Earning his bachelor’s, master’s and Ph.D. from the University of Virginia, Dr. Campbell taught at Virginia Tech before coming to UNT in 1966.

And it was here that he left his mark as a teacher and as a historian.

“Campbell’s greatest legacy may have been his teaching and mentoring,” Torget wrote. “Virtually no one could hold a lecture hall in rapt attention like Campbell, and his massive sections of U.S. history were frequently oversubscribed with eager students.”

In 1988, Campbell was named Regents Professor. And, in 2013, he received two big honors -- he was named the inaugural Lone Star Chair in Texas History and he received the UNT Foundation Eminent Faculty Award, honoring outstanding and sustained contributions to scholarly creative activity, teaching and service.

"The key to teaching and being a historian is not just knowing the material,” Campbell said upon receiving his award. “It's a matter of constantly trying to draw people into the material and letting them know that it matters. I think I'm a better teacher because I'm a researcher and I'm a better researcher because I'm a teacher."

He would research the lives of everyday people by digging through records in county courthouses and local archives, Torget said, and his iconic work examined Texas' connection to the South, including the history and legacy of slavery in the state.

Campbell’s published books include:

  • Gone to Texas: A History of the Lone Star State
  • Wealth and Power in Antebellum Texas, with UNT colleague Richard G. Lowe
  • A Southern Community in Crisis: Harrison County Texas, 1850-1880
  • An Empire for Slavery: The Peculiar Institution in Texas, 1821-1865
  • Sam Houston and the American Southwest
  • Grass-Roots Reconstruction in Texas, 1865-1880

A collection of essays written by historians honoring his work, This Corner of Canaan: Essays on Texas in Honor of Randolph B. Campbell, was published in 2013.

He was active in the Texas State Historical Association, which he served as president from 1993 to 1994 and as the first chief historian from 2008 to 2017; wrote dozens of entries for its Handbook of Texas and revised or reviewed thousands more. His duties included spearheading projects such as the Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Handbook of Civil War Texas, Handbook of African American Texas and Handbook of Tejano History.

He also was a fellow of the Texas Philosophical Society, the Texas Institute of Letters and the East Texas Historical Association.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Diana Campbell, who was a staffer at UNT, mostly working in the dean’s office in the College of Arts and Sciences.

Memorial services will take place from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, Aug. 20, at DeBerry Funeral Home, 2025 W. University Dr. in Denton.

Sheri Jan Broyles

Photo of Sheri BroylesSheri Jan Broyles, 66, of Argyle, Professor Emerita who created innovative programs at the Mayborn School of Journalism and helped students launch advertising careers, died Aug. 9.

She worked for a symphony orchestra and wrote for an advertising agency before pursuing a career in academics, coming to UNT in 1996 before retiring in 2020. Her passion for teaching earned her the Scripps Howard Teacher of the Year award from the Scripps Howard Foundation and UNT’s J.H. Shelton Excellence in Teaching prize. She founded SWOOP, the UNT advertising agency in which students manage accounts to gain real-world experience. Known as “Dr. B,” she also took students to New York City for a Maymester class, giving them tours of advertising agencies and taking them to Broadway shows.

Broyles served as vice president and president of the Faculty Senate and co-founded the Women’s Faculty Network Steering Committee. She presented a TEDxUNT talk on creativity in 2017.

She was active in the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, co-coordinating the Advertising Division Pre-Conference Teaching Workshop for 12 years, which earned her the Outstanding Service Award; sitting on and chairing the AEJMC Elected Standing Committee on Teaching; and receiving a grant and travel visa to Cuba as inaugural Senior Scholar. She also was recognized as a Most Promising Multicultural Student Nominator by the American Advertising Federation Mosaic Center.

Her research, published in numerous journals, covered creativity in personalities and portfolios, and explored women in creative departments at ad agencies and subliminal advertising.

She earned a bachelor’s degree in music performance (percussion) and a master’s degree in journalism, both from the University of Missouri, and a doctorate in psychology from Southern Methodist University, earning her the title of “Renaissance woman.” She loved dogs, traveling, baseball, Broadway shows and watching her children play in sports.

An endowed scholarship, The Sheri J. Broyles (Dr. B) Advertising Scholarship, has been created in her honor to support advertising students in the Mayborn School of Journalism.

Paula Homer

Photo of Paula HomerPaula Homer, 69, Professor Emerita who served as the director of opera in the College of Music from 1992 to 2016, died June 21 in Southlake.

She was in charge of developing the UNT Opera program, which involved hiring more faculty members and creating UNT’s Lyric Theater, where she and her husband were married in 2009 — on a set for a production of The Marriage of Figaro. In 2012, she was selected as the first Margot and Bill Winspear Chair in Opera Studies. While at UNT, she worked with more than 1,000 students and directed more than 50 full productions, including three that received first-place awards from the National Opera Association.

She earned a bachelor’s degree in vocal performance from St. Mary’s College at Notre Dame and a master’s in choral conducting from Indiana University. Before joining UNT, she was the director of opera at Angelo State University. She also founded a traveling company that brought opera productions to small communities, and another that brought musical theater into schools. From 1993 to 2000, she co-directed the Des Moines Opera Apprentice Artists Program, where she mentored young professional singers.

In 2016, when UNT Opera presented selections from her favorite operas in her honor, music director Stephen Dubberly said her commitment to her students was “complete and single-minded.”

“She often avoided the spotlight and never sought to enhance her own reputation,” he said. “Instead, she poured her life into the lives of her students.”

Memorials may be made to The Paula Homer Opera Scholarship Endowment online, or mail checks made payable to the UNT Foundation (memo line: Paula Homer Opera Scholarship), to University of North Texas, Division of University Advancement, 1155 Union Circle #311250, Denton, Texas 76203-5017. A memorial service will be scheduled at a later date.

Joseph Banowetz

Photo of Joseph Banowetz sitting at pianoJoseph Banowetz, 87, of Frisco, a Grammy-nominated pianist and keyboard studies faculty member whose music was celebrated around the world, died July 3.

Banowetz, who retired in May after teaching at UNT for 49 years, performed in more than 35 countries and appeared on 40 commercial recordings -- winning the title of “a giant among keyboard artists of our time” from Fanfare Record Review. He earned Grammy nominations in 2007 for Best Chamber Music Performance with Balakirev: 30 Songs of the Russian People and in 2010 for Best Instrumental Soloist Performance with Kletzki: Piano Concerto in D minor, Opus 22.

He also received the Pan American Prize from the Organization of American States in Washington, D.C., the 1987 West German Music Critics Award and the 1992 Budapest Hungarian Liszt Society Liszt Medal. In 1984, he became the first foreign artist to be invited by the Chinese Ministry of Culture to record and give world premiere performances of a contemporary Chinese concerto -- Piano Concerto, Opus 25b, by An-lun Huang.

His illustrious career began when he studied in New York City with Carl Friedberg, a pupil of Clara Schumann. György Sándor, a student of Béla Bartók, was among his teachers at the Akademie für Musik und Darstellende Kunst Wein in Vienna, Austria, from which he graduated, and at Southern Methodist University, where he earned his bachelor’s degree. He also earned a master’s degree from the University of Missouri at Kansas City.

His work extended beyond performance. He was an expert on the music of the Russian Romantic composer Anton Rubinstein, and he wrote numerous books that were used as standard reference guides for students. His Pianist's Guide to Pedaling won the Outstanding Academic Book of the Year Award in 1985.

He is survived by his husband, Alton Chan (’82, ’94 Ph.D.).

Bobye J. Riney

Bobye J. Riney, 89, Professor Emeritus who taught home economics in what became the College of Merchandising, Hospitality and Tourism from 1973 to 1991 and was a member of the President’s Council, died April 14 in Denton. At the time of her retirement, the Dr. Bobye Riney Scholarship Endowment was established in her honor to provide financial assistance to students in CMHT.

While at North Texas, she served as director of the Division of Child Development, Consumer Economics and Home Economics Education in what was then the School of Human Resource Management. Her research areas included family economics, two-income families, women in the labor force and economics related to older Americans.

She earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Texas Woman’s University and her doctorate from Purdue. She also attended Abilene Christian College and Southern Methodist University. Before teaching at UNT, she served as a home demonstration agent and a rural civil defense specialist with the Texas Agricultural Extension Service. She enjoyed a range of hobbies, from antiquing and RVing to rooting for the Dallas Cowboys. She also was active in her church.

Henry James Mackey

Photo of Henry James MackeyHenry James Mackey, 86, Professor Emeritus of physics, died May 12 in Gulfport, Mississippi. Known to his loved ones as Jimmy, he graduated with his B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. in physics from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. After completing his doctorate in 1964, he became a physics professor at UNT and worked for 36 years until his retirement. He was a solid-state physicist, and in 1967, he and professor Jim Sybert received the physics department’s first research grant funded by an outside agency — the U.S. Department of Defense — for their study of electron conduction in metals. He also was involved in the laser research at the Center for Applied Quantum Electronics at UNT. He was preceded in death by wife Marycarl Mackey, who worked in the UNT Student Health and Wellness Center. Survivors include his son Kevin Mackey (’85, ’87 M.S.).

Susan Dadres

Photo of Susan DadresSusan Dadres (’84, ’86 M.S.), 61, principal lecturer in economics, died May 19 in Plano. After earning her UNT degrees in economics, she received her doctorate from Southern Methodist University. She began working at UNT in 2004 and was known as a dedicated and encouraging teacher. She developed the Department of Economics’ first online courses — receiving the Outstanding Online Teacher and Course Award — and co-wrote textbooks and student workbooks for macroeconomics and microeconomics. Her teaching career spanned more than 35 years — prior to joining UNT, she taught at SMU, TWU, Trinity and the University of Texas at Dallas. She also enjoyed reading and spending time with her family.

Myrtice Larson

Headshot of Myrtice Larson Myrtice Larson (’46, ’49 M.S.), 100, former faculty member and member of the McConnell Society, died April 27 in Arlington. In the late 1940s, she served on the Demonstration School faculty at North Texas and then moved to Arlington with her husband, Curtis. She worked in education for four decades, serving as a teacher as well as an administrative supervisor of instruction for the McKinney school district and curriculum consultant for the Arlington school district. She retired in 1981. The Arlington school district named the Curtis and Myrtice Larson Academy elementary school in their honor. She volunteered with the Texas Retired Teachers Association after her retirement and served as president of the statewide group from 1994 to 1996. She also wrote “Teachers and the Planning Guide” for Houghton Mifflin’s kindergarten program, which is still in use today. She and her husband established The Myrtice Nygaard Larson and Curtis Larson Scholarship for Education at UNT, and she left a planned gift benefiting the College of Education. She also led an active life outside the classroom. She was the first woman in the American Lutheran Church body to serve as president of a church and congregation. She enjoyed collecting items like teapots and handkerchiefs, being a seamstress and exploring the world on 11 cruises.