David Letterman, Ball State remember beloved professor Darrell Wible

Topics: Administrative, College of Communication Information and Media

August 8, 2013

Ball State University remembers professor emeritus Darrell Wible, who passed away Aug. 4 at the age of 88. Alumnus David Letterman considers Wible an important mentor in his career. He issued the following statement about the professor who changed his life.

"I was barely a ‘C’ student at Ball State in the 1960s, with nothing productive going on at all, when I met Professor Wible. He became a mentor, and he introduced me to the world of broadcasting in a way that changed my life. He helped a poor student find a path, and that was the kind of guy he was."

—David Letterman

"Darrell Wible and the mentoring he extended to innumerable students such as David Letterman represent the best of Ball State University,” said President Jo Ann M. Gora. “He transformed many lives in his time here. His legacy lives on in his students’ contributions and his generosity to our School of Nursing in honor of his late wife, Evelyn Reynolds Wible.”

Wible also supported Ball State through generous philanthropy. He created a scholarship assisting nursing majors in memory of his wife. The Evelyn Reynolds Wible Endowed Nursing Scholarship will be made available to senior nursing students with an interest in theory and practice in medical and surgical nursing. 

About Darrell Wible

Darrell Wible once said he began his life as “just a farm boy.” He came to be among Ball State University’s most distinguished professors and devoted donors. He taught at Ball State for 25 years. 

In 1949, at WBIW in Bedford, Ind., he began his broadcasting career, during which he performed more than 6,000 programs. Though he barely made a livable wage at that time, the work was so enjoyable that he said that he “would have done it for free.” 

Wible earned an MS from Indiana State University and a PhD from Ohio State University. He finished the five-year program in three years due to his previous experience as a broadcaster. 

Wible initially received an offer from Ball State to work as an assistant professor of speech. Three days later, he received a phone call saying that the Center for Radio and Television had been created. He was asked if he would object to having his title changed. “That’s how I became the very first Ball State assistant professor of radio and television,” said Wible.

The first class that Wible taught was Mass Communications in Emens Auditorium with 73 students in attendance. “I was so nervous. I think the students may have been nervous because of how nervous I was,” he recalled. One student who enjoyed the class enough to continue to take additional classes from Wible was Ball State’s own David Letterman. One thing that Wible remembered fondly of that time was that “David never tried to tell a joke in my courses.”

Wible always believed that the needs of students should come first. With that in mind, he created The Evelyn Reynolds Wible Endowed Nursing Scholarship. Wible felt it was a fitting memorial to his wife, a medical-surgical nurse whose devotion to her profession never faltered during her long career. Always putting the needs of her patients first, she wanted this level of professionalism to continue to future generations. Supporting nursing students was a way to reach that goal. “Now, it’s all for the students,” he said when the scholarship was established. “The students are most important — always.”

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