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Dr. Robert B. Huber, 1909-1996
No one is really in a good position to judge anyone's life, and I certainly
can't, but I want to share with you a few of my thoughts, and then I will
reprint the piece from the Burlington Free Press of Saturday, May 4, 1996.
Bob Huber changed many thousands of lives for the better. He taught people
how to speak and also to speak up. He told me that he believed he had
taught more students in basic public speaking over a period of 51 years
than any human ever. He coached debate at UVM from 1946 until 1983,
influencing thousands of students who went on to make a real difference in
the world for the better.
Bob Huber built institutions to carry on his work no matter what. He was
extremely important in SCA, ECA, DSR-TKA, and other groups. He arranged to
have the UVM debate team secured with an endowment, and then helped create
an endowed professorship for the UVM debate coach. He had summer debate
institutes at UVM for decades, paving the way for the current National
Debate Institute held at UVM each summer. The annual UVM debate tournament
has, for many years, been named after Bob. The "Office Wing" of the Debate
Central website is named after him, and the entire site is dedicated to him
and to Edwin Lawrence.
Bob Huber was a debate innovator. His teams were slick and well prepared,
as well as deep. His record of competitive success was impressive. Although
Bob was modest about it, it seems as if he was the inventor of the modern
"plan" when his teams said they did not support the entire resolution, but
the resolution through their specific proposal.
Bob Huber was personally very helpful to me. When I arrived at UVM to
assume the Lawrence Professorship his advice was keen, useful, and
accurate. I think about how lucky I am today to be doing what I am doing
where I am doing it, and I know that without Doc's work and effort none of
this would be here for my students and myself.
Bob Huber promoted discussion and debate as the model for citizenship. When
an alumni donated a car, he and the debaters began barnstorming all over
Vermont bringing debates and discussions to every small town they could,
and it went on for years and years.
The ultimate product of our profession as debate coaches is a body of
concerned, critically thinking, intelligent, and communicative citizens who
can take the tragedy of today and turn it into the victories of tomorrow by
working hard, by thinking deeply, and by speaking out. In government, in
the professions, in business, and all over the world his outstanding
students are an important legacy.
For all he has done, Robert Huber certainly stands out as a giant in his
If any of you have notes or reactions to be passed on to the family, please
feel free to send them to me.
Alfred C. Snider
Edwin W. Lawrence Professor of Forensics
University of Vermont
Burlington Free Press, May 4, 1996
DR. ROBERT B. HUBER
SHELBURNE -- Dr. Robert B. Huber, 86, of Shelburne died at the
Green Mountain Nursing Home, Colchester, on Thursday, May 2, 1996.
He was born in Indiana on June 12, 1909, the son of Henry and Maude
(Harris) Huber. He graduated from Manchester College in Indiana in 1930 and
from the University of Michigan in 1934. He received his Ph.D. in 1942 from
the University of Wisconsin.
From 1930 to 1932, Mr. Huber was a teacher at Churubusco High
School in Indiana and from 1932 to 1934 at Mishawaka High School,
Indiana. On Oct. 27, 1933, he married Isabel Nickey.
He was the assistant professor of speech at Manchester College,
Indiana, from 1934 to 1935; instructor of speech at Indiana University
from 1935 to 1941; teaching assistant at University of Wisconsin,
1941-42; assistant professor of speech at University of Oregon, 1942-1943;
chairman, Department of Speech at University of Vermont, 1946-1966; and was
professor at the University of Vermont from 1950 to 1966. He was Professor
Emeritus Lawrence Professor of' "Forensics. Summer Lecturer: University of
Wisconsin in 1946 and University of Southern California in 1952.
He served as navigator in WWII, United States Naval Reserve,
flying missions in the South Pacific. He was a member of the New England
Speech Association and was president in 1950; member of the Eastern States
Speech Association and was president in 1951; member of the American
Forensic Association and was president from 1963 to 1965; member of
the Vermont Speech and Hearing Association and was president from 1957 to
1959; member of the honorary society, Tau Kappa Alpha and was first vice
president, 1960-1963, and served as town moderator from 1955 to 1978 for
the town of Shelburne. He was appointed to the Vermont Parole Board by Gov.
Thomas Salmon and was the executive director of the Miss Vermont Pageant in
1968. He was listed in "Who's Who In America" in 1968-1969. He authored the
textbook, "Influencing Through Argument," in 1963 and co-authored the
textbook, "Persuasion in the Courtroom," in 1979.
Bob was the debate coach with the University of Vermont. When UVM
won the National Debate Championship at West Point in 1950, he received the
key to the city of Burlington on the steps of City Hall. He was named the
Debate Coach of the Year by Boston College in 1974.
He was proud that he had visited every state in the United States.
He was a member of the Burlington Theater Club and loved golfing,
barbershop singing, skiing and water skiing.
He is survived by his wife of 65 years, Isabel Nickey Huber, and
his daughter, Suzan Huber Noble, both of Shelburne; his grandson Greg and
his wife, Sherry, Noble of Memphis, Tenn.; great grandchildren Taylor and
Morgan Noble; and several nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by two
sisters, Lois White and Lucille Galloway.
Memorial services will be held at a later date. Burial will be at
the convenience of the family in Shelburne Village Cemetery. Arrangements
are by the Ready Funeral Home, South Chapel, 261 Shelburne Road,
Archive created by Jonathan Stanton (email@example.com)
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