University community remembers longtime faculty member, administrator Robert Cobb

LAWRENCE — Robert Cobb wore many hats during his time at the University of Kansas, ranging from professor of English to Dean of the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences to executive vice chancellor.

Cobb died June 7 in Kansas City, Kansas, at age 91.

“Robert Cobb was a talented and dedicated administrator and a devoted teacher and faculty member who served our university well in a wide variety of often challenging roles,” said Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little. “On behalf of the entire university, I extend my deepest condolences to his family, friends and all who knew him at KU.”

Cobb came to KU in 1957 as an assistant professor of English, rising to full professor in 1967. At various times, he directed the College Honors Program and the Nunemaker College-Within-the-College and held various leadership positions in the Department of English and the College.

In addition to rising from assistant dean to associate dean to dean of the College, he also served as Dean of International Programs. Before earning emeritus status in 1989, he was the university’s executive vice chancellor from 1980 to 1987.

James Gunn, professor emeritus of English, said Cobb was always a good friend and colleague and an intelligent, charming, witty, and caring administrator. 

“My favorite memory is his inviting, as dean, the 18 members of my third Intensive English Institute on the Teaching of Science Fiction to his home for a reception — a truly unusual and enlightened act that impressed the students so much one wrote a poem about it,” Gunn said.

Services will be 11 a.m. June 14 at Plymouth Congregational Church, 925 Vermont St.