Dr. Robert Hosmon is something like a celebrity at the University of Miami School of Communication. Everyone knows him, and he is greatly loved amongst students, faculty, and staff alike. He is often the first person incoming public relations students meet, and he greets everyone he passes by with a warm smile and a hello. Now, after 44 years of hard work and dedication to UM, he is stepping down from his position as Vice Dean of Advancement and External Affairs and Public Relations Program Director to travel and write independently.
“Bob Hosmon has been a great campus citizen,” said UM President Donna Shalala. “His real legacy is the hundreds of students he has inspired, advised, and taught over the past 44 years.”
Hosmon first came to UM in 1968 right after graduating from Arizona State University with a Ph.D. in English. He had never been to Miami before, but he quickly adapted to the city and the university, teaching Romantic and Victorian poetry and eventually becoming the Chair of the English Department. He moved to the School of Communication in 1991 because of the excitement, opportunity, and creativity it offered.
“It was the diversity of the School, the energy and enthusiasm of the students, and the opportunities I saw that could be there to make everything better for students and faculty,” said Hosmon.
Originally, Hosmon was hired as the media relations and fundraising coordinator for the SoC. He has been instrumental in raising money to improve the school’s academics and facilities. Since he had always been involved in the Miami community at large, he was able to reach out to many individuals and organizations. One of his proudest moments was persuading the Florida Legislature’s elected officials to donate a grant that would offer scholarships to students majoring in motion pictures, which was then a much smaller program. Now, it has flourished into one of the top film schools in the region.
While at the SoC, Hosmon taught undergraduate public relations writing and design classes as well as nonprofit public relations at the graduate level. He made a positive impact on many of his students.
“If I could take a class he taught every semester I would,” said Daniella Fernandez, a senior majoring in public relations. “Hosmon is such a professional and has so much experience that students really felt that we were learning valuable skills we would use in the real world. He pushed us to learn and think outside the box, and he cared about us.”
As communications practices have evolved rapidly in the past years, Hosmon has seen multiple changes take place during his time here.
“Things have changed, and they just keep getting better,” Hosmon said of the SoC. “Under the leadership of the School, there is an enormous future here.”
Though his work schedule has always been busy, Hosmon made an effort to keep in touch with alumni and former students. He even traveled to other states to visit them.
“Bob has been more than a mentor, a friend, a voice of reason over the years,” said alumna Erin Moyer, B.S.C. ’01, supervising producer at NBC Digital Entertainment in Los Angeles. “I consider Bob family. His interest, knowledge, and love for people are clear.”
Though Hosmon won’t be working in an office next year, he doesn’t see this as a retirement; he plans on keeping busy with freelance writing. Hosmon is a widely-published wine critic. He began as a restaurant reviewer for The Miami Herald and went on to write a freelance wine column that appeared in 1,000 newspapers a week. He has visited dozens of countries to sample and write about different types of wine. After stepping down, he will continue to write about travel and wine at his own leisure.
Leaving the SoC is going to be bittersweet not only for Hosmon, but for the students, faculty, and alumni who have benefitted immensely from his dedication to the school.
“That’s what I’m going to miss most,” Hosmon said. “The students.”*The School of Communication has established the Robert Stahr Hosmon Fund to support student needs. Donors may choose to make a gift in honor of Hosmon's retirement to this fund. Gifts may be made via the SoC online giving page by selecting “other” as the gift designation and then typing in “Robert Stahr Hosmon Fund” in the blank box.
*SEE THE SOC TRIBUTE VIDEO TO DR. HOSMON HERE: