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Chico State

Fond Farewell: Business Professor Emeritus Casey Donoho

Casey Donoho pictured at a graduation ceremony.

Our hearts are heavy to share the news that Professor Emeritus Casey Donoho, who taught marketing at Chico State for 16 years, passed away on February 10. He was 74.

Born in Inglewood on August 15, 1948, Donoho was passionate about the benefits of higher education. After earning a bachelor’s degree in music with an option in trombone performance from the University of Southern California in 1971, he went on to earn two degrees from Chico State—a bachelor’s degree in economics in 1980 and an MBA in 1984. He subsequently earned a doctorate in marketing from the University of Oregon in 1990. 

Chico State provided the bookends to Donoho’s 38-year teaching career. He taught as an instructor while pursuing his MBA from 1983–85 and worked as a visiting lecturer in 1988–89. Following stints at the University of Missouri–Kansas City and Northern Arizona University, Donoho returned to Chico State as a professor in 2008. He retired in 2017 but continued to work five more years as a retired annuitant.

His colleagues recall a teaching career marked by positivity, kindness, and generosity. That positive demeanor, and the way it rubbed off on others, impressed Marketing Professor Matt Meuter. Marketing Department Chair Damon Aiken described Donoho as universally liked and a great colleague and friend.

Donoho coached a team of Chico State students to the 2011 Western States Collegiate Sales Competition team title and spent many years researching business ethics—one of his favorite subjects. He and Professor Tim Heinze collaborated on a revised Personal Selling Ethics Scale, an analytical tool for assessing and discussing students’ ethical sales sensitivities, and developed a deep friendship along the way.

The resulting article was one of many Donoho published and the one that perhaps best exemplifies his values as a professor.

“Casey was passionate about challenging students’ perspectives around ethics and teaching them to listen,” Heinze said. “When you couple good ethics and good listening skills, it works really well in business, but it also transfers to life. It was an others-centered approach that I admired him for.”

Outside of teaching, Donoho enjoyed playing music. He spent several years playing bass guitar in the Kenny Davis Road Show and played drums in other bands. He was also the owner of the Golden Ear Stereo store in Chico for a few years.

Donoho could often be found listening to music or watching movies or sports in his home theater. He also enjoyed cycling (on bikes he built) and trips to the beach.

“He was so smart and accomplished, but he had the glee of a kid,” said Heinze, who recalls the first time he experienced Donoho’s home theater system. “He was probably in his early 60s at that point, but he closed the door and wound that system up with glee and a twinkle in his eye. My ears were ringing for a week.”

Donoho is survived by his wife of 54 years, Dianne, his two daughters, Kelly Burgess and Carrie Donoho, his two granddaughters, Isabelle and Greta, and his two sisters, Patti and Dusty. In lieu of flowers, donations in Casey’s name can be made to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network or the Butte County Humane Society in honor of Casey’s beloved dog Ernie.

The University flag will be lowered Monday, April 10, in his memory.