The College of Arts and Humanities lost Bob Hirth on Friday, Feb. 10. Hirth, a passionate and active member of the Arts and Humanities Advisory Board, died after a battle with cancer. He was 71.

Fresno State honored Hirth by posting the campus flags at half-staff on Monday, March 13.

“Bob is a symbol of who we are as a College,” said Dean Saúl Jiménez-Sandoval. “Trained in the sciences, his heart was always enriched by the beauty of the arts, the transformational thoughts of the humanities, and the sense of belonging and hope these fundamental human expressions allow us to experience.”   

Hirth graduated from Fresno State in 1973, from the College of Science and Math with a bachelor’s degree in biology. He served in the U.S. Navy, became an architect and later became an attorney in Madera.

Hirth is survived by his wife, Ellen, two children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews. A private celebration was held.

Jacqueline Doumanian, also an advisory board member and a close friend of the Hirths, said Ellen and Bob discussed his wishes before his death. He wanted any donations made in his memory to go to the Dean’s Council Annual Fund, which is used for the Dean’s Council Scholarship Endowment and the Dean’s Discretionary Fund.

“Bob Hirth was a deeply caring man,” Doumanian said. “He was a champion for justice and discreetly provided many with sound advice and counsel. He and his wife, Ellen, were devoted supporters of arts and culture. A visit to their home is like stepping into a private gallery and a testament to their love of art. Bob’s friendship, honesty, wit and intelligence will be greatly missed. Knowing him was a gift.”

Author Armen Bacon, also an advisory board member, spoke about working with Bob:

“When Bob shared his passion for the arts, you knew it was coming from deep within his soul, 100% real, truly heartfelt. His voice will echo through these hallways forever. Such a friend and treasure to all of us, his presence will be greatly missed – but he leaves an indelible imprint on this university, and our students will be the beneficiaries.”

Elva Rodriguez, secretary for the advisory board, said Hirth “embodied giving and caring for a cause.”

“His passion for the College of Arts and Humanities was contagious, and he is the reason I became a member of Dean’s Council.”