In Memoriam: Emeritus Professor Arthur S Hough, Jr.

Author: Department of BECA
January 13, 2022
Obituary for Arthur Hough

The BECA Department extends our condolences to the family of Emeritus Professor Arthur Hough who passed away on January 1.


Professor Arthur Hough taught in the BECA Department from 1962 – 1994. He was a key member of the core faculty who helped forge the identity of the program in the 1960s and 1970s.

Prof. Hough was perhaps best known for his course “BCA and the Human Potential” (later renamed “Integrative Communication”) which was required of all majors in the Department.

As an outgrowth of the human potential movement, the course was unique to the BECA Department with its focus on in inner communication, interpersonal and professionally-oriented communication. In the course Prof. Hough guided his students to develop personal awareness through the consideration of their personal perspectives of choice, responsibility and their individual self-concept. Students often reported that the concepts they encountered in this class were life-changing.

Dr. Hough was also an expert in the analysis of television situation comedies and he developed a very popular course on sitcoms.

Dr. Hough served the BECA Department well during his time on the faculty. He was an extremely popular professor and his classes were always full. He served on key department committees and as Graduate Coordinator at a time when the M.A. program was at its peak of popularity. Dr. Hough also served as a mentor for new BECA faculty members, helping them navigate the shoals of a large Department as well as the university bureaucracy.

He was a man with a commanding presence, but with a gentle soul and a twinkle in his eye that signaled his intellectual curiosity and compassion for others.

Ronald J. Compesi, Ph.D.

BECA Department Chair, 1986-1995


Professor Betsy Blosser remembers her time as Professor Hough's office mate:

I arrived at SFSU in the fall of 1988. I had no clue what I was getting myself into – a new city, a new university, a new department. BECA (then BCA) Chair Ron Compesi assigned me to an office in the basement of the Creative Arts Building, where I was to share the space with Art Hough. Easily more than 20 years my senior, Art was a big guy, with a wonderful beard and mischievous eyes that sparkled like Santa Claus. AND he smoked constantly – a big cigar! He didn’t know what to make of me – a single woman in her late 30s, with a new baby, who taught in an area of BECA that made no sense to him (and, of course, his area made no sense to me!) Meanwhile, between allergies and my father’s death from emphysema, cigar smoke was NOT one of my favorite things! “Was this a test for the ‘newbie,’ to see how much she can tolerate?”, I wondered.

Meanwhile, Art sat at his desk, smoked, and worried because he felt it was his responsibility, as my office mate, to “show me the ropes.” He pondered how he was going to do it. Periodically, he would take me out to lunch. He answered all my questions – about the university, about the department, about the people in the department – and offered advice about how to deal with each of those people. He regaled me with department lore. He warned me about the landmines (common to any workplace) – where they were and how to avoid them. He and his wife had me over to dinner (minus the baby!) And once he even lent me the money to attend a professional conference!

OK, so Art Hough was a friend! If sharing his office was a survival test, I aced the test and won the lottery! Not only did I survive, but I thrived under his tutelage. I know his ashes are destined to return home, to the family cemetery in New Jersey, where they will be at peace.

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