North American Scholar

HOOPER, William Davis

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  • Date of Birth (YYYY-MM-DD): 1868-08-13
  • Born City: Liberty (now Bedford)
  • Born State/Country: VA
  • Parents: Thomas Williamson, Presbyterian minister, & Letitia Johnson H.
  • Date of Death (YYYY-MM-DD): 1945-02-14
  • Death City: Athens
  • Death State/Country: GA
  • Married: Florence M. Herty, 1894.
  • Education:

    B.A. Hampden-Sydney, 1889; study at U. Chicago, Göttingen, Berlin, & Heidelberg, 1891-2; M.A. U. Georgia, 1893; Litt.D., 1924.

  • Professional Experience:

    Instr. Lat. Southwest Georgia A. & M. College (Cuthbert, GA), 1889-90; instr. to prof. Lat. U. Georgia, 1890-1935; dept. head, 1897-1935; pres. So. Assoc. Coll. & Sec. Sch., 1924; chair, Commission on Institutions of Higher Educ, 1924; pres. So. Sect. CAMWS, 1929-31.

  • Publications:

    “Cicero's Religious Beliefs,” CJ 13 (1917-8) 88-95; “Plurals of the Abstract,” CJ 19 (1923-4) 448; Cato and Varro on Agriculture, trans, with H. B. Ash, LCL (Cambridge & London, 1934).

  • Notes:

    Hooper studied under W. H. Bocock at Hampden-Sydney, who later brought him to the University of Georgia, where he enjoyed a distinguished career of over 50 years. He was a colleague known both for the accuracy of his scholarship and for the good humor of his nature and a teacher who enlarged his courses with the broad perspective of the humanities. In the tradition of Gildersleeve, he had sought higher training at Göttingen and other German universities and returned with an experience and wisdom that enriched his teaching and scholarship for the remainder of his long career. He saw his translation of Cato and Varro to the page-proof stage, but was constrained by temporary ill health and heavy schedule to turn the completion of the volume over to Harrison B. Ash of the University of Pennsylvania. C.J. Fordyce called the translation “in the main a scholarly piece of work and very readable. . . . Dr. Hooper has combined praiseworthy fidelity to his originals with idiomatic force” (CR 49 [1935] 156). Despite his well-received Loeb of Cato and Varro and his heavy teaching schedule, he seemed to find time for extraordinary service responsibilities. He was made secretary of the faculty early in his career, a position he held for 50 years, offering advice to administrators and delivering diplomas to graduating seniors. He was active in his church and was one of only five Ruling Elders to hold the position of Moderator of the Synod of Georgia. He achieved high positions in educational organizations, particularly his presidency of the Southern Association and chairmanship of its Commission on Institutions of Higher Education. A popular and esteemed speaker on campuses and in churches throughout the South, his favorite authors were suspected to be Cicero, Dickens, and Mr. Dooley. His teacher W. H. Bocock spoke of “the accuracy of his mind and the conscientiousness of his character” and asked, “What does the University of Georgia mean to Georgia, to the South? Professor Hooper's career is one of many sufficient answers.”

  • Sources:

    Atlanta Journal (14 Feb. 1945) 2; W. H. Bocock, Georgia Alumni Record (Feb. 1936) 137-8; Theodore H. Jack, So. Assn. Quarterly 11 (1947) 182-3; NYTimes (15 Feb. 1945) 19; Thomas Walter Reed, The University of Georgia: A Bicentennial History, 1785-1985 (Athens, GA, 1985) 7:1553-9; 15:3024.

  • Author: Ward W. Briggs, Jr.