- Honorary Degree (1978)
- Doctor of Laws
- Bloomington, Indiana
- Presenter: John William Ryan
John Horner was thirty-seven when he became President of Hanover College in 1958. Such youthful success attests to an extensive early career which classically combined teacher and scholar with athlete. Born in Passaic, New Jersey, John Horner attended Drew University, where he was both a varsity athlete and an elected member of the local honorary scholastic society, Sigma Phi. Upon graduation in 1943, he served in World War II with the United States Army Air Corps. After the war Dr. Horner pursued a graduate education while teaching full-time. He received his M. A. from Columbia University in 1947, and his Ph.D. from Ohio State University in 1955. Meanwhile, he taught Latin and English at Morristown (N.J.) High School and simultaneously coached football, basketball, and baseball. In 1950 he became an Instructor in Latin and English at Drew University, and in 1952 moved to Kansas Wesleyan University, where a new direction in his career was initiated.
While at Kansas Wesleyan University, Dr. Horner expanded his career from teacher and Director of Athletics into administrative service for the University. He was Assistant to the President at Kansas Wesleyan, and subsequently held similar posts at Ohio State and at the University of Omaha, where in 1957 he also became Dean of the Graduate School. One year later he accepted his current position as President of Hanover College in Hanover, Indiana. Since his appointment Dr. Horner has been notably successful as a President, particularly in the wake of the April 1974 tornado, which left Hanover College severely damaged and facing financial crisis. Under his guidance, the college was quickly restored to physical and financial soundness.
Dr. Horner has been very active as an educator in Indiana. He has served as President of the Indiana Conference of Higher Education, as President of the Indiana Association of Church-Related and Independent Colleges, as a member of the Indiana State Scholarship Commission, and on many other educational councils and commissions, both local and national, including the American Association of Presidents of Independent Colleges and Universities. He is a Ruling Elder of the United Presbyterian Church, and in 1963-64 served as President of the Presbyterian College Union.
Dr. Horner married Anne Catherine Evans in 1952. They have four children.