Jere Richmond Hoar is remembered as an author and professor, but more importantly, a legend at the University of Mississippi.
Hoar, a former journalism professor at Ole Miss, died on Oct. 2 at age 91. Hoar taught at Ole Miss for more than 30 years and served as acting chair of the department and head of the journalism graduate program for more than 20 years. He earned the respect of students and faculty, and he was often known as a tough but fair teacher. Curtis Wilkie, an acclaimed journalist and graduate of Ole Miss, commented on Hoar’s impact on his career.
“He flunked me for failing to turn in my stories on time for his feature writing course,” Wilkie said. “As a result, I did not graduate with the class — my class — of 1962. By giving me an F, Jere taught me a lesson I would never forget. I can say that during a career as a reporter that lasted for nearly 40 years, I never again missed a deadline.”
Hoar was named the university’s teacher of the year in 1974. He taught 25 graduate and undergraduate courses in both journalism and law.
“The most fortunate colleges and universities have one or two professors who become renowned for the ages. For journalism at Ole Miss, it has been and may always be Jere Hoar,” Journalism School Associate Professor Charlie Mitchell said.
Hoar was not only a professor at Ole Miss, but an author as well. He published more than 40 scholarly articles, three television scripts and a textbook chapter, as well as 30 short stories after his retirement. Hoar’s “Body Parts: Stories” was named a Notable Book of the Year (1998) by The New York Times. “Body Parts” also was awarded the Pirates Alley William Faulkner Prize for Fiction. Hoar also wrote “The Hit,” a noir novel set in Mississippi, which was published in 2002.
“People remember him because he was hard and detailed … to me, he was an inspiration because of what he had to say about writing and journalism,” Mark Dolan, an associate professor of journalism, said.
Born to a father in the Air Force, Hoar was a man built on high standards, excellence and dedication. Hoar lived in several states as a child and began working in a print shop setting hot type at a young age when his father purchased a daily newspaper in Troy, Alabama.
By age 16, Hoar was the police reporter and by age 17 he was an editorial writer for the newspaper. It was then when he decided on a career in journalism. He later became news editor of the Oxford Eagle.
“His standards were the highest and his ethics impeccable,” said Mitchell, “but he was equally compelled to help students succeed.”
Hoar’s legacy at Ole Miss continues through one of the largest supporting scholarships for the School of Journalism and New Media at Ole Miss, named the Jere Hoar Scholarship Fund, which continues to support the university with significant financial gifts.
“He touched the lives and careers of so many greats that came through the school. I have yet to meet any that didn’t point to Dr. Hoar as a major influence on their success in this profession,” said Fred Anklam Jr., Assistant Professor and City/County Editor of the Columbia Missourian, and a past student of Hoar’s. Anklam is currently an assistant professor at the University of Missouri School of Journalism.
Anklam also said as intimidating as Hoar was as a professor, he was equally warm to his students as a friend, and enjoyed hearing about their accomplishments.
“He rejoiced in the work we were doing as professionals and took pride in his role in shaping us,” Anklam said.
Donations in Hoar’s memory may be made to the Jere Hoar Journalism Endowment at the University of Mississippi c/o University of Mississippi Foundation, 406 University Ave., Oxford, MS 38655 or the charity of the donor’s choice.
“In sports, people talk about ‘impact players.’ At Ole Miss, Jere Hoar was an impact player, and will be respected for generations to come,” Mitchell said.