College of Education Fondly Remembers Harold S. Hook

Harold Hook plaque
A plaque recognizing Harold S. and Joanne H. Hook hangs in the Dean’s office.

The University of Missouri College of Education is mourning the loss of Harold S. Hook, an accomplished businessman and civic leader, who passed away January 14, 2018, in Houston, Texas.

Harold had a 40-year career in life insurance and financial services, and in 1963, at age 31, he was elected President and CEO of National Fidelity Life as the youngest life insurance president in the nation. He was also the creator of Model-Netics, a model-based management language adopted by hundreds of companies worldwide, as well as the founder of Main Event Management systems.

In addition to his many professional, civic and philanthropic endeavors, Harold was passionate about education. He established the Hook Center for Educational Leadership and District Renewal and the Joanne H. Hook Dean’s Chair in Educational Renewal in 2004. The endowed chair is currently held by MU College of Education Dean Kathryn Chval.

Harold was the 2009 recipient of the College of Education’s highest honor, the Friend of the College Award, and he received one of the Mizzou Alumni Association’s highest honors, the Distinguished Service Award, in 2013. He also received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the University of Missouri.

Harold S. and Joanne H. Hook
Harold S. and Joanne H. Hook

At the University of Missouri, Harold met his college sweetheart and wife of 63 years, Joanne Hunt Hook. Harold earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration in 1953 and a master’s degree in accounting one year later. He was an active member of the Missouri Students Association, Beta Theta Pi, Alpha Pi Zeta, Beta Gamma Sigma, The Mystical Seven and Omicron Delta Kappa—in addition to serving as president of the Student Union Activities Board (a precursor to the Missouri Students Association).

Dean Kathryn Chval reminisced about her conversations with Mr. Hook. “Harold Hook’s accomplishments throughout his life were incredible and his passion and commitment to improving K-12 schools were admirable.  He was so generous to share his time, wisdom, and humor. I will miss him as a mentor and am grateful his ideas will continue through the Hook Center. He was a true friend to the College of Education.”

A 2014 profile feature on Harold’s life and career is available on the MU College of Education’s website. A copy of the full obituary that was published in the Houston Chronicle is available here.