Business professor Wayne Blizman ‘always had a joke’ and appreciated the moment

By Kaylee Kean

“He always made people smile.”

So said Joan Carleton, marketing and communications manager for the Macomb-OU INCubator. She was referring to Wayne Blizman: friend, professor, family-man, mentor and businessman, who died Sept. 27. He was 75.

Blizman, who joined the School of Business Administration in 2003 as an adjunct faculty member, was the director of the Entrepreneurship Institute, director of the Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) and director of the ideas 2 Business (i2B) program. He also served as senior adviser for commercialization at the Macomb-OU INCubator.

In his time at OU and in these programs, Blizman served not just as a professor, but as a mentor and friend to many students. One such student, 2009 graduate Brennon Edwards, said he owes much of where he is today to Blizman.

“He was definitely more than a mentor,” Edwards said. “He was a good friend and he’s always been there for me. If I was frustrated, he always seemed to have a good solution and a joke — he always had a joke.”

Blizman served as an adviser when Edwards was president of SIFE, and also taught two of Edwards’ entrepreneurship classes. Edwards, now a television producer working for National Geographic, said Blizman helped him launch this career and taught him everything he knows about business, and turning an idea into reality.

Despite his living in Los Angeles, Edwards said he and Blizman had continued talking and catching up on each other’s lives. The last time they spoke was Sept. 6, and he has a voicemail of Blizman checking up on him and his “big career.”

“He always made fun of me for being in LA and being a television producer,” Edwards said. “He’d asked me about my wife, even though I don’t have one or a girlfriend.”

The two would talk about their families, and Edwards said he was always telling Blizman that he worked too hard.

“More than anything, we’d actually just make fun of each other,” Edwards said. “That’s one thing that Wayne was always good at, living in and appreciating the moment … He’s going to be loved and missed more than he’ll ever know.”

Lisa Campbell, special lecturer in the department of communication and philosophy, worked with Blizman when she was a presentation coach for the SIFE team. They frequently traveled long distances with the team, and their common backgrounds in business helped them to connect and work well together.

“Wayne was a lot of fun,” Campbell said. “He could be really focused on things, but he didn’t ever target the focus so tightly that he couldn’t appreciate what was going on around him. He had a great appreciation of the total picture.

“I was really surprised and I think it was a big loss. I think the university was better for Wayne and we’ll miss him.”

Blizman is survived by his son, daughter and their families. He was preceded in death by his wife, Jane. The family will be holding a private service — those interested in sharing memories or condolences can do so online at http://obits.dignitymemorial.com.