Dr. Edward Cundiff, the John A. Beck Centennial Professor Emeritus in Communication was a distinguished member of both the School of Business and the College of Communication faculty at The University of Texas at Austin. His contributions to our University were many and invaluable. He was instrumental in building two academic departments, the Department of Marketing and the Department of Advertising. Both departments achieved top national reputations for the excellence of their programs and the quality of their faculty under his direction.
Dr. Cundiff received a B.A. degree in economics from Stanford University in 1941, having been a member of Theta Chi. He received a M.B.A. degree in 1942 and an Ed.D. degree from Stanford University in 1952. He was also a Ford Fellow at the Harvard School of Business Administration in 1956 and a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California at Berkeley and at the University of Michigan.
In 1942, Dr. Cundiff served in World War II as a lieutenant (senior grade) in the United States Naval Reserve. In the article: “The Stanford Business School at 75 Years” (Stanford Business, May 2000, Volume 68, Number 3), it was reported that Edward Cundiff, a member of the M.B.A. Class of 1942, found himself as a Navy Seabee on Island Okinawa in the Aleutians.
Dr. Cundiff started his career as a retailing executive (1946-48). Later, he was an instructor of marketing at San Jose State College from 1949-1952. He was an assistant professor and later, an associate professor of marketing at Syracuse University (1952-58), and was assistant dean at Syracuse from 1954-58.
Dr. Cundiff came to UT in 1958, where he served as the chair of the Department of Marketing from 1958-1964 and from 1967-1971. While a professor in the UT marketing department, he was the recipient of an endowed chair. From 1973-75, Dr. Cundiff was associate dean of the Graduate School of Business and was responsible for its Ph.D. program. He retired as professor of marketing in 1977.
Upon retirement from the Department of Marketing, Dr. Cundiff accepted an appointment at Emory University as the Charles H. Carlstadt Professor of Marketing. Dr. Cundiff returned to UT in 1987 to serve as chair of the Department of Advertising from 1987-1991. He was named the John H. Beck Centennial Professor in Communication from 1987-1994, and after his retirement he was named the John H. Beck Centennial Professor Emeritus in Communication from 1994-96. Dr. Cundiff was named emeritus professor of marketing in 1996 and was inducted into the McCombs School of Business Hall of Fame at UT in 1993-94.
Dr. Cundiff was a prolific and distinguished author. He wrote seven books and numerous articles. From 1973-76, he was the editor of the Journal of Marketing, which is the premier marketing academic journal and was a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Macromarketing. He was credited with insightful editorials and responsible for charting the direction of marketing academic research both as an author and a leader in the academic community. Dr. Cundiff also served on the board of the American Marketing Association and was its vice president for a term.
Dr. Cundiff was elected as a fellow of the Southern Marketing Association in 1980. He was the first recipient of the L.J. Buchanan Distinguished Professorship at UT San Antonio (1976-77) and was the recipient of a Ford Foundation grant for research in marketing in 1963.
Dr. Cundiff’s contributions and numerous accomplishments were recognized internationally. He served as visiting professor of marketing in the Republic of South Africa, Germany, and Mexico City. He also served as a consultant to the European Productivity Agency (1960-61) and assisted in the development of marketing programs at two newly formed business schools in Fontainebleau, France, and Palermo, Italy.
Dr. Cundiff was an outstanding scholar and an excellent administrator. His former colleagues and students remember him with much affection and respect. He has inspired and mentored many world–class marketing and advertising academicians and his name will forever be tied to UT as a leader and a builder of our academic legacy in marketing and in advertising.
Dr. Cundiff was the most loyal and positive friend anyone could have. Never concerned with his own priorities and time, he was always a ready listener and an understanding advisor. His colleagues cannot remember ever having seen Dr. Cundiff in a somber or angry mood. His smile and sense of humor were pervasive and contagious. He was able to build a positive environment within an organization, no matter how many negative factors existed. Dr. Cundiff was a brilliant faculty recruiter as he hired several faculty members who have become academic leaders in the marketing and advertising disciplines. For instance, two of the assistant professors he hired became college presidents.
Dr. Cundiff passed away on November 8, 2006. He was the son of Harry Thomas and Martha Magdalene (Koltes) Cundiff. He married Margaret Wallace Stroud (Peggy) on September 8, 1956, who passed on January 18, 2006. Ed Cundiff is survived by his three sons: Richard Wallace (Rich), Gregory Edward (Greg), and Geoffrey William (Geoff). His children and grandchildren are the most important legacy he leaves behind. He was extremely proud of them, and they always had a close and affectionate relationship.
We will always be in debt to Dr. Edward Cundiff for all he has done for our two academic departments, The University of Texas, and the many graduate and undergraduate students that were fortunate enough to be under his tutelage. He was a great friend and an outstanding scholar in the tradition of this great University.
William Powers Jr., President
The University of Texas at Austin
Sue Alexander Greninger, Secretary
The General Faculty
This memorial resolution was prepared by a special committee consisting of Professors Isabella Cunningham (chair), William Cunningham, Eli P. Cox, Gary Wilcox, and Linda Gerber.