Higher education and music are family affairs for Richard Hocks, professor emeritus at MU’s Honors College, and his family.
Hocks has taught English at MU since 1965 and at the Honors College since 1969. He, his wife, Elaine, and two of their four children have doctorate degrees in English and teach at the university level. They are also accomplished musicians.
“When I finished high school, the band I played with asked me about touring,” said Hocks, who also sang on local television in Cincinnati in 1950. “I said no because I wanted to become a college student.”
Hocks went on to write four books of literary criticism, one of which, “Henry James and Pragmatistic Thought,” was a finalist for the National Book Award.
Elaine Hocks is an adjunct assistant professor of English at MU and director of the writing lab at the Learning Center. The couple have been married for almost 50 years.
“She certainly can sing,” Hocks said of his wife.
Hocks’ first-born child, Rick, followed in his parents’ footsteps. He is an assistant professor of English at William Woods University in Fulton and a singer and guitarist who has recorded several CDs. He recently performed in Columbia at The Blue Note and, in the past, has enlisted Rep. Kenny Hulshof, R-Mo., as a drummer.
Not to be outdone, daughter Mary Hocks is an assistant professor of English at Georgia State University in Atlanta. She, too, is a guitarist and singer with a record under her belt.
“We never pushed the English on the kids,” Hocks said.
Perhaps it just runs in the family.