Remembering Professor Emeritus Robert Theodore Holt


On Saturday, April 25, professor emeritus of political science Robert Theodore “Bob” Holt passed away, surrounded in spirit by his family. Bob was a graduate of Patrick Henry High School in Minneapolis, earned an undergraduate degree in History and Psychology from Hamline University, then went on to receive his PhD in Politics from Princeton University in 1957. Bob joined the political science faculty at the University of Minnesota in 1956 and remained here for his entire career.

Bob brought a unique perspective and multi-disciplinary approach to the study of comparative politics and international relations. He published books and articles on the political basis of economic development, political parties in action, and the methodology of comparative research. Lecture invitations allowed him to travel around the world to places like Morocco, England, China, India, and more. 

Bob’s scholarship and leadership was recognized beyond our department. He served on national boards and committees including the American Political Science Association, the National Research Council, and the International Studies Association. Bob chaired our department from 1978-1981 and then went on to University-wide leadership roles. As Dean of the Graduate School, he obtained funding for first-year Graduate School Fellowships and was instrumental in providing full tuition and health insurance benefits for graduate assistants. He also served as interim Dean of the College of Liberal Arts in 1996.

In addition to his scholarship and leadership, Bob was a devoted husband, father, and grandfather. He was a car enthusiast and a master griller. We will remember and cherish Bob’s accomplishments that strengthened our department and the University of Minnesota.

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