John Hooper

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Prof. John DeBerniere Hooper, descended from a brother of a signer of the Declaration of Independence, and on his mother’s side from a noble French Huguenot family, was professor of Latin and French until 1848. He had a strict sense of duty. In enforcing the old-fashioned rules of discipline he concluded that they caused evasions and deceits among the students and hostility toward the faculty. So he afterwards resigned his professorship and undertook the work of school teaching. He was a man of peculiarly gentle manners, but he gave the impression of possessing great reserve power. The noisiest students were quiet in his presence. He was regarded as a broad and accurate scholar. He was such an excellent writer that he was more than once selected to deliver Commencement addresses, but his modesty forced him to decline. No student ever dared to treat him with ridicule. His manner was gentlemanly, and so decided and firm, and his rebukes so just, that offenders could not answer him with rudeness. He had no other nick-name than the abbreviation Hoop, or Old Hoop.

As a teacher of Latin, while exacting in parsing and constructions, he took pains to point out the excellencies of style and thought, but neither he, nor the professor of Greek, required the translation of English into Latin or Greek. In teaching French he was successful in regard to reading and construction, but his pronunciation was said by experts to have been formed from the teaching of books. There was no attempt to train the students in conversation in that language.

Source:  Kemp Plummer Battle, History of the University of North Carolina, Vol. 1 (Raleigh 1907), 545-546.