Longtime Accounting Professor Supports Opera at UConn

Rob Hoskin, a retired associate professor of accounting and former associate dean of the School of Business at UConn, talks about the importance of faculty and staff giving in this 2013 video.

Giving back to the University of Connecticut is nothing new for Rob and Mary Hoskin. They’ve been doing it for years.

The Hoskins’ latest pledge is $50,000 to the Mary and Rob Hoskin Family Opera Excellence Fund, and $50,000 more to the Hoskin/Helman “If We Rest We Rust” Fund.

Rob Hoskin, retired associate professor of accounting and former associate dean of the School of Business at UConn, has a variety of University causes he enjoys supporting. One of those is the Mary and Rob Hoskin Family Opera Excellence Fund, which will support productions, scholarships, and co-curricular learning activities for students participating in opera programs at UConn.

“Mary and I have had a lifelong interest in the arts,” said Rob Hoskin. “We both took piano lessons as kids and we both were in choir, band, and the musicals in high school. Mary went on to be a speech/theatre major in college and for many years was involved in set design and construction, rehearsal accompaniment and performance. She is currently president of the Arts of Tolland, which displays the work of local artists and hosts musical performances.”

“All of our children took piano lessons, sang in the choir and madrigals, and were in the musicals in high school,” said Rob Hoskin. “Our daughter, Emily, majored in voice (opera), studying with Connie Rock here at UConn. She earned her MA in opera from New England Conservatory and is working on her DMA at North Texas in opera. She sings with the Dallas Opera Company and the Fort Worth Opera Festival.

“We wanted to do something for the arts as we know they are not as well-funded as other programs. More specifically, we wanted to do something for the opera program, which had given our daughter Emily such a wonderful start to her opera career. Hence, the Mary and Rob Hoskin Family Opera Excellence Fund.”

“The funding will help immensely with our production costs for our opera productions, which occur twice per academic year,” said Constance Rock, coordinator of Applied Vocal Studies at UConn’s Music Department. “These productions afford our students extremely valuable performance opportunities. This is something not funded through the university, so funding through donations such as the Hoskins’ is very helpful.”

“With regard to our gift, we had a life insurance policy that we were going to cancel since we no longer needed the coverage,” said Rob Hoskin. “We decided, however, that we would give it to the university instead. We had previously endowed a scholarship fund in the School of Business, and part of this gift will contribute to that fund.”

To honor their parents’ memory, Rob and Mary Hoskin had previously endowed the Hoskin/Helman “If We Rest We Rust” scholarship for accounting students in the School of Business, using the motto of Rob’s parents’ graduating class of 1934 at North Eaton High School in North Eaton, Ohio.

“My dad lived up to the motto all his life, and it serves as an inspiration to me when I feel like I should just ‘rest’ for a while,” said Rob Hoskin. “Hopefully, the scholarship will inspire the recipient not to rest and rust. It fits very well with my own outlook of lifelong learning.” To date, this fund has supported four undergraduates in the accounting program.

As a past co-chair, Rob Hoskin is closely tied to the Close to Home Campaign, a program that gives UConn faculty and staff an opportunity to make a gift to the University. The campaign encourages employees, including emeriti and retired faculty and staff, to make a gift of any amount to any area personally meaningful to them—whether it’s support for students, a specific school or college, UConn Health, the performing arts, or athletics.

The Hoskins’ gift comes at the same time the UConn Foundation has kicked off its “Transform Lives” campaign, a five-year, $150-million fundraising initiative that will double the amount of financial support—including merit and need-based scholarships—that the Foundation raises for the benefit of the UConn student body.

“We often see faculty members and their families support areas outside their field of study and that is especially true with the arts, which have a remarkable ability to inspire,” said Josh Newton, president of the UConn Foundation. “We thank the Hoskins for their generosity and for helping to transform lives.”