Family and Friends of the Hobson Family - Chapman Legacy Society
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Gifts Established:

  • Robert Louis Hobson Memorial Scholarship in Psychology | Est. 1974
brick engraved with name Family and Friends of the Hobson Family

Family and Friends of the Hobson Family

When 30-year-old Robert Hobson arrived at The University of Tulsa in 1948 to teach psychology, the campus was enjoying a period of growth. J.L. Mabee had pledged to build two large dormitories; KWGS radio had begun broadcasting; Lorton Hall was newly completed, and the Petroleum Science Building was under construction.

Robert Hobson would help TU grow even more. A native of Blountsville, Florida, the newly hired professor was a multi-faceted and multi-talented individual. His career might have gone several directions. He was a psychologist, a college professor, a minister, and an inventor.

Hobson had served his country in World War II with the U.S. Air Force, training flight crew gunnery students. Most would have been content to do their duty and muster out, but Hobson’s keen mind conceived an improved training device, which was named the Hobson-Strand Flexible Gunnery Trainer.

Before coming to Tulsa, he was an assistant to the director of the educational division at Purdue University, where he obtained his master’s and doctorate. He had earned his bachelor’s degree from Grinnell College.

Despite his relative youth, Hobson impressed university officials. In 1956, he became chairman of the psychology department shortly before his 38th birthday, making him one of the youngest individuals ever heading a TU liberal arts college division. He wrote several papers and pamphlets on psychological evaluation and was considered a specialist in labor problems and statistical data. A consultant to industry, he developed a measuring device for manager-employee relations called the Purdue Rating Scale for Administrators and Executives. Not surprisingly, he was listed in Who’s Who in Education.

But it wasn’t all about career. Hobson and his wife, Elizabeth, reared three sons — James, William and Henry; and three daughters, Barbara Montelbano, Linda Underwood and Caroline Bessey. And somehow, Dr. Hobson managed to find time to follow the example of his father, the Rev. Claude C. Hobson, a Congregational minister. Robert Hobson studied and became both a Congregational and United Brethren minister.

After heading the Psychology Department for 16 years, Dr. Hobson returned to teaching. Not long after, he died of a heart attack in January 1973 at the age of 54. The following year, in his memory, colleagues, family, students, and former students established the Robert Louis Hobson Memorial Scholarship in Psychology.

The University of Tulsa sincerely appreciates those who funded this important scholarship, which helped students pursuing degrees in psychology to complete their studies while honoring the legacy of a popular TU faculty leader.