David Allan Hovland

Born: July 18, 1941
Died: February 25, 2018

David was born in Chicago and spent his childhood in Washington, D.C. and New Haven. He was the son of Carl Iver Hovland (Yale, Ph.D. 1936) and Gertrude Jeanette Raddatz Hovland. His uncle C. Warrant Hovland earned his bachelor’s degree and Ph.D. in Divinity. David prepared for Yale at Choate (now Choate Rosemary Hall).

David was a non-resident of Silliman. He was a Culture and Behavior Honors Major, on Dean’s List and held a scholarship. He was on the Lit Board 1959-1961, a member of the Psychology Club and a member of Manuscript.

After graduation from Yale, David attended Harvard and earned his M.A. (1968) and Ph.D. (1970) in Psychology and embarked on a 40 plus year teaching career specializing in behavioral sciences.

David, known as “Dr. Bear,” first taught at Vassar College 1970-1972. He was lured to Austin, Texas by classmates Bill Stott and the late Bob Crunden and joined the faculty of the University of Texas where he taught in both the Psychology and American Studies Department from 1972 to 1979. He completed his academic career as a tenured professor at Park University. In 2007 the Hovlands relocated to Petersburgh, NY and he continued his teaching on line. He founded Art and Psychology, a forum where people shared their thoughts on art, psychology and other topics.

In his entry for our 40th Reunion Book David wrote about the influence of his Yale education:

One thing emphasized at Yale (in the Culture and Behavior program) was the relevance of both the individual and culture. Another long-term interest is art – not much individual celebrity in this area. A third is Buddhism. Currently, and I now see this was always true, I most enjoy intelligent discussion (which has never been exactly equivalent with academic). My regular discussion groups include a book group that has been going for about 25 years (sometimes called “The Deep Division Book Group”), The Lotus Sutra Study Group, The Poetry Group, Adolescent Psychology (a course), and Behavioral Science Research Methods.

In August 1964 he married Carol Vickers (Wellesley 1964) in Ticonderoga, NY. Members of the wedding party included classmates Chap Barnes, Joe Chubb, David Corbin, David Holzman and Ted Volckhausen. Bill Stott also attended. The ceremony was performed by his uncle Warren Hovland. “I am grateful to them all,” David wrote, “and wish to say so. I thought of saying, ‘they must have done a good job,’ but simple straight forward causality is not all that is involved.”

David was a highly respected and popular psychology professor to students across the globe. David’s humor, kindness, and unconditional love will always be remembered. He has touched the lives of countless people through his legacy of education, mentorship, and joy for life.

A fine obituary posted by Choate paid tribute to his deep commitment to the arts, environmental activism, and music:

Bear was a loving father and grandfather, who enjoyed finding new ways to share his love of music, literature, and film. He enjoyed painting and making vibrant mixed-media collages, visiting museums; he also volunteered with the Texas Fine Arts Association, served on the board of the Austin Contemporary Fine Arts Association (later AVAA), and helped create the Different Drummers Project Documentary, a grant-funded project about artists in Austin in the 1970s. He was an environmental activist, who wrote America’s Endangered Wildlife with his wife, Carol Hovland. An avid reader, he was in several book and poetry groups. A music lover, he attended operas and symphonies throughout his life, including events at Tanglewood, the MET, and Glimmerglass. A true lifetime learner, he had a very broad array of interests, and stayed up to date on current events, eager to discuss these topics with strangers and loved ones alike.

David was survived by Carol, his loving wife of 53 years, son Sam and Sam’s wife Lee, daughter Emily and her husband Travis, grandsons Hopper and Rowan, granddaughter Stella, sister Kathie, and many loving nieces, nephews, family, students and friends. The family chose a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson for a final tribute: “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”

Robert G. Oliver