Hockema, Frank C. (1892-1956) | Purdue University Libraries, Archives and Special Collections
Dr. Hockema was a lifelong resident of the Lafayette community. He was born March 25, 1892, on a farm near West Point, about 12 miles southwest of Lafayette. After attending the public schools at West Point, he attended Indiana State Teachers College in Terre Haute for one year to prepare for teaching. He shifted his interests to engineering and enrolled at Purdue where he graduated in 1918 with the degree of bachelor of science in mechanical engineering. He obtained the master of science degree in this field at Purdue in 1923 and earned his Doctor of Philosophy degree in education at Indiana University in 1947.
Dr. Hokema joined the Purdue staff in 1920 as instructor in mechanical engineering and subsequently served as an assistant professor, associate professor and professor in this field. From 1932 to 1934, he was director of personnel and placement, and in 1934 he was made an assistant to the president. He served in that capacity until 1943 when he was made executive dean and in 1945, he was named as vice president, and served in the dual capacity, until his death in 1956.
Immediately following Dr. Hokema's passing, President Hovde issued the following statement..."The University has suffered an irreparable loss in the sudden and unexpected death of Vice President Frank C. Hockema...Frank Hokema had devoted most of his adult life to the University of which he was a most outstanding alumnus...He was often called 'Mr. Purdue' by his friends and admirers...He was in wide demand as a speaker at business, industrial and educational gatherings, not only on the campus, but throughout the state and nation...To thirty-five generations of Purdue students, he was a true friend, wise counselor, and great teacher...His many years on the staff left an indelible imprint upon the lives of everyone with whom he came in contact.
An editorial in the Purdue Exponent--"A Truly Full Life"--written by the editor, Tom Milligan, '56, of Richmond, one of the honorary pall-bearers, expressed the high regard held by the student body for Dr. Hockema...A part follows--"In addition to this deep feeling of respect and admiration for his deeds, this editorial seeks to express the love for Frank Hockema as a man of sterling character and personable nature which was shared by his numerous acquaintances...It can be said that Dean Hockema possessed the sum total of all the fine qualities and attributes which most men aspire to have...His demeanor of comfortable friendliness could put an audience of five thousand persons at ease as quickly as a single person in his office."