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Donald Erwin Hargis

Professor of Speech, Emeritus

Los Angeles



Donald E. Hargis was born in St. Paul, Minnesota. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley (1934) and his master’s degree from the University of Minnesota (1936). From 1936 to 1941 he was an instructor in Speech at the University of Oregon, then completed his Ph.D. at the University of Michigan (1943). He was appointed an assistant professor at Michigan, serving in this capacity from 1943 to 47. He joined the UCLA Department of Speech in 1947 as an associate professor, and was promoted to full professor in 1973.


Hargis specialized in phonetics and interpretation, early California public address, and theory of interpretation. His published work, on both basic speech education and his areas of specialty, appeared in the Quarterly Journal of Speech, Speech Teacher, and other speech and historical publications. He was co-author, with colleagues in UCLA’s Speech Department, of a popular textbook, Basic Voice Training in Speech (1952, 1957). Among his professional contributions was serving as editor of Western Speech from 1956 to 1960.


He was a mainstay of UCLA’s Eta Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, serving devotedly as its secretary from 1975 to 1982, and was awarded its Certificate of Distinguished Merit in recognition of outstanding contributions to the chapter.


Hargis retired in 1981, and in retirement was very active in the West Hollywood Presbyterian Church. Among his activities at the church were serving as Elder and Clerk of Session, Editor of the monthly News Letter, and Secretary of the Lazarus Project, as well as distributing sack lunches to street people.


In addition, he raised, bred, and displayed pet mice as a hobby, traveled, and was active in AA and community theater. He is remembered as a large, gentle, kind man with a particularly rich and pleasant voice.



Nancy Henley