Professor emeritus was “a true gentleman”


Robert Hoover, centre, celebrated the official launch of the Tourism and Environment department on Nov. 10, 2006 with department chair Tony Ward, left, and St. Catharines MPP Jim Bradley.

Robert Hoover is remembered by former Brock colleagues as a scholar, social activist and dedicated teacher.

The late professor emeritus was “completely dedicated to his students” and passionate about social issues, said Bruce Krushelnicki, who was a student and then fellow professor of Hoover’s starting in 1972.

“He understood that teaching and education is really about relating to people, not trying to change people’s minds,” Krushelnicki said. “As a teacher and scholar, he was brilliant, no two ways about it.”

Hoover died Jan. 22 at the age of 89. He founded the Urban Studies unit at Brock, which later merged with Environmental Studies to eventually become the Department of Tourism and Environment. He was “one of the pioneer faculty members of the University,” said John Middleton, a current professor in the department.

“He was a true gentleman,” Middleton said. “He was deeply offended by the injustices of the world, but he never lost his temper. He was a nice, calm, intelligent man.”

Krushelnicki was an undergraduate student and then teaching assistant from 1972 to 1974. He was a Brock professor from 1981 to 1991. He is now director of planning and building for the City of Burlington.

Hoover was sharp minded, Krushelnicki said, and “had one of the single most complete vocabularies of anyone I’ve ever known.”

Hoover’s community involvement was broad. It included committee and elder involvement with the Silver Spire United Church, which he was a member of since 1971. He also served on on the Caribbean Workers Outreach Project, the General Council Environmental Committee, the Canadian Council of Churches, Niagara Peninsula Homes and a special planning council of St. Catharines and Thorold, among others. He was the past president of the Preservation of Agricultural Lands Society and a member of the Royal Niagara Military Institute, St. Andrews Society, American Institute of Certified Planners, USS Holt Association (Lt. Commander DE-706, Second World War). He was a local provincial NDP candidate in 1977.

There will be a memorial service on Feb. 13 at 2 p.m. at Silver Spire United Church. Memorial donations may be made to Brock University for the Robert C. Hoover Bursary Fund, or to the Preservation of Agricultural Lands Society.

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