UVA Arts, University of Virginia

Vol 03 Fall 15 Library
Michael Bailey

Clown nose “bump” with Hoh's great niece Emily Thomas (2015)


The young lady in the pictures is Hoh's great niece Emily Thomas.  It all started September 1, 2002 when Emily was 6 years old and her family was visiting Charlottesville. Hoh's wife suggested that Emily and he put on clown noses and touch noses ~ the rest is history.  At Hoh's retirement party in 2015, Emily and her family attended and they wanted to recreate the 2002 moment (above).

Read more about the Circus!

The Circus in America: 1793 - 1940 by LaVahn Hoh

Last spring, one of the most colorful careers in University of Virginia history came to a close with the retirement of the highly accomplished and greatly beloved Drama Department Professor LaVahn Hoh. An American original in the true sense of the word, the internationally-acclaimed circus historian and author folded the tent on a UVa career that began in 1969 and one in which he would make history by offering the only college accredited course in America on the history of the circus. While sabbaticals and other teaching assignments are commonplace in academia, few can boast multiple stints at Ringling’s famed Clown College, where Hoh once served as an archivist, or traveling the globe with troupes large and small. The Wisconsin native who fell in love with the circus as a 4-year-old boy standing trackside as it rolled into town has fashioned quite a career beyond the big top as well thanks to an expertise in technical theatre, special effects, and for his use of non-traditional materials in scene design. While his circus historian duties will keep him plenty busy, Hoh said there is one thing he will miss most about his four decades on Grounds. “I will especially miss the students. That is what has driven me all these years – how bright they are, and how they challenge me and keep me on my toes. It truly has been a wonderful ride.”

Clown nose “bump” with Hoh's great niece Emily Thomas (2002)
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Alumni Spotlight: Sara Brown