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4 October 2023
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Celebrating the Life of Dr. Conover

Dr. Peter Conover, professor of Communications and founder of UWW-TV at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater passed away July 16th of this year. The public is invited to a Celebration of Life ceremony honoring Dr. Conover on Sunday, October 8, 2023, at the Cravath Lake Community Center in Whitewater beginning at 3:00 p.m.

Dr. Conover had a lasting impact on many UW-Whitewater students and colleagues during his tenure. If you are able to attend and share stories of his legacy, please RSVP to his wife, Katherine, at kmconover@yahoo.com. Share memories with others and celebrate the life of a truly remarkable mentor and friend!

UWW-TV Special: UW-Whitewater Welcome Address 2023

The Fall, 2023 semester at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater kicks off with the Welcome Address hosted by Chancellor Dr. Corey King. The event includes a presentation by special guest, Dr. Zach Mercurio, and was hosted by the UW-W Young Auditorium on Tuesday, August 29, 2023.

UWW-TV leader and founding director Peter Conover dies

Dr. Peter Conover, professor of mass communications at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and founder of UWW-TV, the campus cable television station, died July 16, 2023, in Tucson, AZ, following complications from Parkinson’s.

Dr. Conover began his tenure at UW-Whitewater in 1972 after receiving his BA at the University of Iowa, where he met his wife, Katherine. He went on to earn an MA from Syracuse (NY) University, and later a Ph.D. from UW-Madison. During his time as a professor in the Department of Communications, he earned awards for Outstanding Faculty Service and for Outstanding Teaching. He had also been the recipient of the University Service Award, the COMM Advising Award, the KEMPA Service Award and was a past member of the AHECTA Board of Directors.

Conover was instrumental in launching academic courses in video production and other communication techniques. His former Communications colleague and longtime friend Richard Haven credits Peter not only with establishing the Electronic Media submajor at UW-Whitewater, but his efforts helped influence the development of many other COMM-related fields of study, including journalism, public relations, interpersonal communication and media arts and gaming, just to name a few.

“He was a very personable person, with a calm willingness to be the key player to create what UWW-TV and the Communication Department is today,” said Haven. The former interim dean of the College of Arts and Communication has countless stories of their professional and personal time together, including trips to Florida, New Orleans and San Francisco, but it was their work together after UWW-TV was founded in 1980 that made the cable station was it is today.

Together with the leadership and support of then Director of Residence Life Jerry Gorby, they put UWW-TV on the Charter cable line-up, primarily to provide over 150,000 households the ability to access live sporting events and original student programming on what was first Cable 6 (and later Cable 19).

Past Director of Residence Life and current Vice President of Retention & Completion at MATC Milwaukee Jeff Janz remembers that Peter was one of the first people he met when he became the leader of that division in 1991.

“I was thrilled to discover that UWW-TV was part of my oversight,” recalls Janz, as that partnership was new to him. “I was very proud of the model that Peter had created between Student Affairs and the Department of Communication.” He remembered Peter as a man who was committed to his responsibilities, while maintaining a wonderful spirit. “He was a lovely person.”

Dr. Conover taught and mentored a number of undergraduate and graduate students over the years, turning many into journalists and broadcasters who continue to excel in the profession today. Jonathan Kelley, a former student and staff member at UWW-TV remembers him as one of the kindest and supportive persons he has ever known. “His support for his students was unwavering, and his passion for film was addictive. I came to UW-Whitewater with a love for film…Peter made me truly understand why.” Former graduate student and current General Manager of UWW-TV Jim Mead echoes those sentiments. “I greatly admired my predecessor, teacher, mentor and good friend.” Conover retired from UW-Whitewater in 2011.

Dr. Peter Conover is survived by wife, Katherine, sons Aubrey (Laura) and Damien (Shoshanah), grandsons Eli, Ben and Colin, brother Kelley (Judy) and sister Mary Susan (Mike) and several nieces and nephews.

A Celebration of Life will be held at a later date in Whitewater, where he lived and worked for many years and where he developed numerous valued friendships. UWW-TV has also provided a link to view the 2013 Conover Television Studio Dedication Ceremony that was originally held May 19, 2013, an honor that, with the re-naming of the campus television station ensures his legacy at UW-Whitewater will never be forgotten. To view the dedication program in its entirety, click here.