MARSHALL (KMHL) – There’s sad news today from Southwest Minnesota State University. Longtime former SMSU Professor Robert (Bob) Ridley passed away on Saturday.

Ridley was hired at SMSU in 1969 and retired in 2010, he served as a Professor of Communication Studies and was the Director of Forensics for over 15 years.

Former Dean and Communications Studies professor Dr. Jan Loft says Ridley was well-known and well-respected by SMSU students.

“Graduates of SMSU all carry a similar theme, they all talk about Bob’s impact on their lives, especially their professional lives,” said Loft. “He challenged students to be their very best, in fact he expected it.”

Ridley served as the Chair of the Speech and Theater Department, hosted high school speech tournaments and helped bring thousands of students to the SMSU campus. Loft adds that he was known to be tough in class, but his students appreciated it later.

“Sometimes while a student was in Bob’s class, they grumbled and complained that Bob was too tough,” said Loft. “But after they graduated and they were out in the real world for a while, if they came back to class Bob was the professor they would seek out and they would thank him.”

The family is planning a private celebration for Ridley in October in Okoboji, Iowa.

Ridley was 75,