NORMAN — Ken Hoving refers to himself as “a serious academic,” but he also lays claim to the title sculptor. And let’s not forget that he is adept with a sailboat or motorboat and is licensed in Germany as a barge skipper.
It all flows together to shape a career in higher education supplemented by refreshment of the mind and soul while on the water and now with his hands on clay.
Hoving came to the University of Oklahoma in 1979 when President Bill Banowsky offered him the position of dean of the graduate college and vice president for research.
It was a big job serving both campuses, but the money was available to strengthen the graduate college by fostering the quality and quantity of research programs on both campuses.
“I invited patent attorneys to campus to meet with professors,” he said. There was little interest on the part of the professors. New regulations allowed the professors to have ownership of their research products. Things began to change.
“Once they began to realize that money could be made, the interest in research grew,” he said.
“We funded seed grants for faculty research,” with the help of the Presbyterian Health Association he said.
They also developed criteria for the relationship between the graduate students, the supervising professor and the research program.
“We enriched the quality of research. Top quality graduate students are an enormous benefit the University,” he said.
Research on the OU campuses have led to the development and patenting of such things as medical devices, chemical procedures and computer technology.
Dr. Hoving, whose own studies were in the field of psychology, brought a lot of professional experiences to the OU campus from his former position at Kent State.
Recalling the May 4, 1970, shooting on that campus, he said two of the four who died were psychology students. The President of the University asked him to represent the faculty at the funerals.