Long time Wayne State supporter, Detroit broadcast pioneer Bob Allesee passes

Bob and Maggie AlleseeWe are very sad to report the passing of the College of Fine, Performing and Communication Arts supporter and prominent Detroiter Bob Allesee (Allison) on March 25, 2020. For years, the names of Maggie and Bob Allesee have been synonymous with community, philanthropy, the arts and Detroit. The entire campus mourns this tremendous loss and our hearts are with Maggie and her family.

“Bob’s extraordinary commitment to broadcasting and historic contributions to the field will be remembered by all who knew or heard him,” said Matthew W. Seeger, professor and dean of the College of Fine, Performing and Communication Arts. “Bob was one of the warmest and most gregarious human beings I ever met. He loved people, our community and our creative students.”

In 2002, Bob commemorated Ask Your Neighbor’s 40th anniversary year with a generous $1.5M gift to Wayne State University's College of Fine, Performing and Communication Arts. At the time, Bob stated it was “the best way to give back to a business that has given so much to me.” The professorship allows the department to bring distinguished media professionals, such as Star Wars film editor Richard Chew and acclaimed director Julie Dash, to campus to work directly with students. This semester, noted American documentarian and educator Judith Helfand isserving as the visiting chair and working closely with media arts students. “The endowed Bob Allesee Visiting Professorship in the Department of Communication has brought so many accomplished professionals to share their knowledge with our students. Bob’s legacy as a pioneer in media will live on in this program,” said Dean Seeger.

With 630 undergraduate majors and 150 graduate students, Wayne State’s Department of Communication is diverse and dynamic, featuring programs in communication studies, media arts and studies, film, journalism and public relations.

Through her visionary philanthropy, Maggie Allesee named the Department of Dance with a generous gift in 2000. When the Department of Dance merged with Theatre, the department became the Maggie Allesee Department of Theatre and Dance. The department offers undergraduate and graduate students professional training in performance, design, stage management and arts leadership. Graduate students in the MFA receive assistantships with generous stipends and tuition waivers. Undergraduate students may be eligible for in-state tuition and talent scholarships.

With a robust season of both theatre and dance performances, students have multiple opportunities in production augmenting an intensive academic program. Annually, eight to ten guest artists conduct master classes, direct or design productions, and mentor students. Internships are available at many of the neighboring theatres in Detroit including the Fox Theatre, Michigan Opera Theatre, and Broadway in Detroit.

Arrangements for a celebration of his life are being planned for a future date so that members of the Wayne State community may share memories and express their gratitude for his support.