Ronald Dove, 78, of Glen Mills, an artist who was president of the Hussian School of Art in Philadelphia for 37 years, died on Friday, Dec. 9, at Devon Manor of complications of diabetes.

Mr. Dove had been associated with the Hussian School, on Independence Mall, since 1957. In 1973, he became president when he and a business partner, Wilbur Crawford, bought the school from John Hussian, who founded it in 1946.

Hussian offers a four-year program of instruction and an associate's degree in commercial art, with a curriculum developed around advertising and illustration.

"Ron positioned Hussian to provide marketable commercial art training," said Catherine Kilday, an advertising executive. "He was able to recruit some very talented students. Alums from Hussian pop up doing terrific work in a wide range of medium from comic books to campaign posters."

Mr. Dove was an instructor, head of the design department, student coordinator, assistant director, and director at Hussian before becoming president. While heading the school, he continued to teach a junior advertising class and a senior portfolio class, said a former student, Bruce Wartman.

Wartman became president in July 2010, when Mr. Dove became chairman of the school. Mr. Dove and his business partner sold the school last April.

A native of Havertown, Mr. Dove graduated from Haverford High School. During the Korean War, he served in the Army in the United States.

After his discharge, he graduated from the Philadelphia Museum School, now part of the University of the Arts. He then established a design studio in Philadelphia. While pursuing a freelance career, he taught for several years at Rosemont College and the Philadelphia College of Art as well as at Hussian.

Mr. Dove was a member of the Artists Guild of Delaware Valley and served on the executive board of the Pennsylvania Association of Private School Administrators. He was a former chairman of the advisory committee for curriculum development of the Eastern Center for Arts and Technology in Willow Grove.

Mr. Dove held several offices with the Art Directors Club of Philadelphia, including three terms as president. He received the club's President's Award in 1985 and the Inspiration Award in 2002 for being a "beacon of motivation for the creative community."

He enjoyed collecting Americana and was a "passionate" collector of antique toys, Wartman said.

Mr. Dove is survived by a sister and six nieces and nephews.

A funeral is scheduled for 11 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 15, at Pagano Funeral Home, 3711 Foulk Rd., Garnet Valley. Friends may call from 10.

Donations may be made to the Ronald Dove Education Fund, Hussian School of Art, 11 S. Independence Mall East, Philadelphia 19106.

Contact staff writer Sally A. Downey at 215-854-2913 or sdowney@phillynews.com.