Owen Kulemeka, a public relations and strategic communications professor in the Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication, was found dead in his Norman apartment Tuesday morning with signs of complications from heat stroke, according to a Gaylord College press release.
Kulemeka, 38, was found by Professor Jaime Loke and Gaylord Director of Finance Heather Todd when they went to check on him after multiple unanswered calls, according to the release.
Kulemeka last taught Public Relations Publications during the first month of the summer session. He was scheduled to teach both Intro to Public Relations and Crisis Communications for the fall semester.
“He was a true educator and one of Gaylord’s gems,” Public relations junior and Daily photographer Emma Hyde said. “Lucky for me, I made the decision to take Owen's class at the beginning of this summer. I have to believe it was fate that I took the last class Owen taught, because without his excess amounts of inspiration he unloaded on us everyday, I wouldn't be able to say I learned from the best."
According to his LinkedIn and Facebook profiles, Kulemeka spent years in public relations and marketing, focusing on research and analytics before joining the Gaylord faculty in May 2011 as an assistant professor.
He interned at charitable organizations like UNICEF and their refugee agency the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the Public Welfare Foundation.
His students’ respect and admiration was made evident in April 2014 when Kulemeka was named Most Inspiring Faculty by Sooner Student Athletes, according to a tweet posted by the Gaylord College on April 15, 2014.
According to Gaylord assistant to the dean Kathy Adams, who spoke with Detective David Madden of Norman Police, Kulemeka’s family has been notified and his aunt is on her way to Norman.
Authorities have not released information regarding the circumstances of Kulemeka's death.
According to an email from Gaylord Dean Joe Foote, several Gaylord faculty members noticed Kulemeka's absence and inquired about his well-being before checking on him.