Theodore J. Hoover (1871 - 1955)

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Theodore Jesse Hoover

Theodore Jesse Hoover, brother of the 31st President of the United States, was born in West Branch, Iowa, on January 28, 1871. He attended Stanford and received the Bachelor of Arts degree in Geology and Mining in 1901. Following graduation his professional career started with the position of assayer for the Keystone Consolidated Mining Company. After one year, he became assistant manager for the Standard Consolidated Mine, and a year later he was promoted to manager of the operation.

In 1907 Hoover went to London as general manager of Minerals Separation, Ltd. This company was developing the froth flotation process for recovering minerals from ores. Hoover took an active part in the development of the flotation concentration process and authored one of the first books on the concentration of ores by flotation. After four years with Minerals Separation, Ltd., Hoover entered private practice as a consulting mining and metallurgical engineer with offices in London and in San Francisco. He was very successful and held positions of consulting engineer, managing director, director, and president of many mining companies in America, Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia.

He returned to Stanford in 1919 as Professor of Mining and Metallurgy and Executive Head of the Department of Mining and Metallurgy. His experience and ability in organization made him a natural leader. He was influential in the formation of the School of Engineering at Stanford. The School was formed in 1925 and he was made dean, a position he held until his retirement in 1936.

As dean of engineering, he promoted a broad fundamental training program for undergraduate engineering students. Under his guidance, emphasis was placed upon graduate work and he was responsible for developing strong graduate engineering curricula at Stanford. While dean he continued teaching and his course, "The Economics of Mining," developed into a book which was published in 1933. He became interested in the functions of engineers and, with Professor Fish, wrote a book entitled "The Engineering Profession" which was published in 1940 and revised in 1950. In addition to his academic activities he was generous in his hospitality. Faculty and students alike enjoyed the annual field day and barbecue at his Rancho del Oso, near Santa Cruz.

He was widely read and had a lively interest in all the things he encountered. He speculated on the antiquity of man and man's early production processes. To verify an idea regarding flint tools, he studied their shapes and became proficient in making arrow heads. He was also interested in wild life, and was one of the founding members of the Cooper Ornithological Society.