- Maurer School of Law Academy of Law Alumni Fellows (1972)
- Honorary Degree (1959)
- Doctor of Laws
- Bloomington, Indiana
- Presenter: Herman B Wells
John Simpson Hastings was born June 30, 1898, in Washington, IN. He graduated from Washington High School in 1916 and attended Indiana University from 1916 to 1918. He left Indiana to attend the United States Military Academy at West Point. Hastings graduated from West Point in 1920 with a B.S. degree and a commission as a second lieutenant in field artillery. He reached the rank of first lieutenant before resigning from the army in 1921.
Hastings entered the IU School of Law in 1921, and graduated with an LL.B. degree in 1924. He won the Gamma Eta Gamma award for the highest scholastic average in the senior year of law school. Hastings practiced law in his home town of Washington from 1924-1957.
In 1957, President Eisenhower appointed Hastings as a judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Chicago. Hastings was chief judge from 1959-1968. He retired on February 1, 1969, but continued as active senior judge. In January 1972, Chief Justice Burger, of the United States Supreme Court, named Hastings as Circuit Judge of the Temporary Emergency Court of Appeals of the United States.
Hastings was president of the Indiana University Alumni Association, 1933-1935. On June 17, 1935, Hastings and Uz McMurtrie, representing the IU Alumni Council, appeared before the IU Board of Trustees to propose the establishment of the Indiana University Foundation. Hastings was a charter member of the Foundation and served on its board of directors from 1936 to 1969. After his resignation, he was made an honorary director for life. He was vice president of the IU Foundation from 1951 to 1969. Hastings was an Indiana University trustee, 1936-1959, and was president of the Board of Trustees from 1950 to 1959. He served on President Ryan's Ad Hoc Committee of Special Consultants on Legal Education at Indiana University, 1975. He was a member of the Board of Visitors for the Indiana University School of Law, 1970-1977.
Hastings belonged to numerous legal and community organizations. He was a member of the board of governors of the Riley Hospital for Crippled Children, Indianapolis, until 1969.
Among the honors he received were: honorary LL.D.s from Indiana University (1959) and Northwestern University (1961); Order of the Coif; Phi Beta Kappa (1968); Lincoln Academy of Illinois law award (1967); membership in the Indiana Academy (1972).
Hastings died on February 8, 1977, at age 78.