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CSCA Hall of Fame Member and Past President Obituary for Dr. M. Chad McBride

CSCA Hall of Fame Member and Past President Dr. M. Chad McBride (Ph.D., University of Nebraska-Lincoln), Professor of Communication Studies at Creighton University, has passed away. He wrote poignantly about his four-year struggle with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) in his Presidential Spotlight which was published in Volume 71, Issue 5 of Communication Studies.

If you are coming to CSCA 2025 in Cincinnati we will be holding a panel to honor Chad’s life and legacy organized by CSCA Hall of Fame Members and Past Presidents Dr. Chad Edwards and Dr. Shawn T. Wahl. We look forward to remembering and celebrating Chad’s life and legacy next April.

Below is the obituary that Chad’s husband Allen Saunders shared:

Chad McBrideChad McBride, 48, peacefully passed away on April 21, 2024, after a four-year struggle with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). He passed away in his home, held by his husband, Allen. His impact in this world was widespread and profound, and he will be remembered with great love by countless friends and family members.

Dr. Micah Chad McBride was born on August 1, 1975 in Weatherford, Texas. He led what he has described as a classic “Texas Boyhood,” and graduated with high honors from Weatherford High School in 1993. Chad attended Texas Christian University, where he served as a resident assistant and hall director. He considered a career in student life before he discovered his love for both the discipline of communication and for teaching. He earned his Bachelor of Science in Speech Communication in 1996 and his Master of Science in 1999, both from TCU. It was during his doctoral work at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, that his passion for research truly blossomed. After earning his Ph.D. in 2003, he began his work at Creighton University, where he spent his entire career.

At Creighton, Chad was tenured and promoted to associate professor in 2009 and promoted to professor in 2016. He served as chair of the Communication Studies department from 2013 to 2022, where he upheld the department’s value for collegial relationships and a supportive work culture. Chad was a national leader in the communication discipline, serving as President of both the Organization for the Study of Communication, Language and Gender (where he was named an Oracle) and the Central States Communication Association (where he was named to the Hall of Fame). As a scholar, his collaborative nature led to many productive and supportive co-authorships with colleagues at Creighton and beyond. In particular, his research on “work spouses” is noteworthy in its reach to wider audiences through the popular press. Chad was also a dedicated teacher, always seeking ways to innovate and to inspire students. His last act of inspiration was to write, primarily with his eyes tracking on a tablet, a memoir of his life.

Chad met his beloved husband, Allen Saunders, in 2008, and they were joined in marriage in 2015. Chad had always yearned to become a father, and was shocked and ecstatic when he and Allen received the call about a possible adoption. Together, they took the leap of faith to prepare themselves for parenthood, and their son Jackson’s birth in February of 2016 was a peak experience in Chad’s life. Throughout the rest of his years, Chad found his greatest joy in being Allen’s husband and Jackson’s dad. Along the way, Chad also became a reluctant cat lover, and he was a “cat dad” to Zeb, Zuri, and Lucky.

Chad was a collector of music, art, books, Christmas decorations, Horned Frog paraphernalia, and countless friends he transformed into family. He loved children, feminist values, the Dallas Cowboys, live concerts, and good food and drink. Always willing to spend time truly listening, he was a dedicated friend to many. He shared his passions with others in forums ranging from journal articles and the classroom to online book clubs and recommendations for “Chad’s Damn Good Songs.”

Chad was a man of faith who followed Christ’s example of love, service, and a radical acceptance of all. He also embraced the Ignatian spirituality he encountered at Creighton University, living out the Jesuit value of care for the whole person. With this foundation, and throughout his life, Chad personified the values he taught in his interpersonal communication classes: that relationships are the center of the human experience and that it is through our communion with others that we know we are truly loved and have truly lived.

Chad was preceded in death by his beloved Memaw, Blanche Wood, and Pawpaw, George Wood. Chad is survived by his husband, Allen Saunders, his son, Jackson Saunders-McBride and the many, many people who were his chosen “family of heart.”

A prayer service will be held at St. John’s Church on Creighton’s campus on Friday, April 26 at 9:30 a.m.

A celebration of life will be held at First United Methodist Church (7020 Cass Street) on Saturday, May 4 at 10:30 a.m., reception to follow.

Memorials can be sent to the family ℅ Allen Saunders at 16611 Read Street, Bennington, NE 68007.

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