NAVIN, ROBERT B. (27 Apr. 1895-13 Feb. 1970), sociologist, dean, and president of ST. JOHN COLLEGE for 30 years, was born in Youngstown, Ohio, the son of John and Bridget (Kenney) Navin. He studied for the priesthood in Rochester, N.Y., was ordained in 1923, and received a doctorate in Sacred Theology in Rome. He pursued graduate studies in education and sociology at Catholic University. His dissertation, "The Analysis of a Slum Area," was a study of Cleveland's E. 21st-E. 55th-Central-Woodland area, and became a pattern for studies in 34 other U.S. cities.
When Navin came to Sisters' College in 1929, the school was a newly formed college to train nuns for teaching in diocesan schools. Within a decade, he won its accreditation from the American Assoc. of Teachers' Colleges and developed a masters of education program. The school moved into a new building, becoming St. John College in 1946; Navin became its president then. The school developed an accredited nursing program, offered adult-education classes, and opened the auditorium and classrooms to community groups. Interested in the Catholic trade-union movement, Navin encouraged labor-management and collective-bargaining workshops at the college.
In WORLD WAR II, Navin was chairman of the Cleveland Area Rent Control Board and Cleveland Area Rent Committee. Later, he was president of Better Homes & Neighborhoods Assoc. and on the mayor's advisory boards of housing and urban renewal. He retired from St. John in 1960, becoming president emeritus. As his health failed, he moved to an apartment at ST. VINCENT CHARITY HOSPITAL.