Editor’s Note: This is part of a series of 20 stories called “What’s in a Name?” completed by Pioneer journalists for our 2022 Annual Report. To learn more about the section, click the embed at the bottom of this article.
Dr. Claude Vivian “Mr. Conservation” Hobson bears the distinction of having two things named after him at Bemidji State University.
Born in 1884 in Kansas, Hobson attended the University of Nebraska and continued his doctoral work, eventually earning his doctorate in education and psychology.
He began his tenure at the Bemidji State Teachers College Laboratory School for K-8 students as a science supervisor in 1931.
Becoming a professor of geography and conservation in 1938, Hobson campaigned for the passage of the School Forests Act, which allows public educational institutions to establish and maintain school forests, according to the Department of Natural Resources of the Minnesota.
The law was passed in 1949, although BSU had already acquired a 240-acre forest in 1948 for academic and recreational use by the university and the community.
The forest would eventually be dedicated to him and would become known as Hobson Memorial Forest. It is located along County Road 20 near the language villages of Concordia.
Retired from his position as professor of geography and conservation in 1962, the student union at BSU was formed in 1967.
After his death in 1966, the union was dedicated to Hobson on May 1, 1972.
It now houses the Beaux Arts Ballroom, BSU Bookstore, Lakeside Food Court, and several conference spaces.