Virgil Hunt, Sr.


Honorary Degree (2003)
Doctor of Humane Letters
Location: Kokomo
Presenter: Adam William Herbert


Jefferson Award Winner, Founding Father IU Kokomo & Dean, IU Indianapolis, Nation's Youngest College President, 92, Indianapolis, died June 8, 2004. He was born in Gibson County, Indiana, on November 26, 1911, to Marion and Christinia Phillips Hunt.

He graduated from Oakland City High School and received his A.B. and M.A. degrees in chemistry from Indiana University in 1932 and 1933, respectively. He received the Doctor of Humane Letters from Indiana University in 2003 at IU Kokomo, which he served as founding director from 1945 to 1956. Hunt Hall, the new science building at IUK is named in his honor. He also received an Honorary Doctorate from Oakland City University, which he served as a Trustee and as Chairman of its Foundation.

Hunt was named a Sagamore of the Wabash by Governor Otis Bowen. He is a recipient of the Jefferson Award. He was honored as Central Indiana Older Hoosier of the Year for his civic involvement and was a Congressional appointee to the White House Conference on Aging. He was inducted into several honorary societies, including Sigma Xi, Alpha Chi Sigma, Phi Lambda Upsilon and Blue Key.

After completing his Master's at IU, he taught at Pikeville (KY) College, Harding (AK) College, Central Normal College (Danville, IN), Butler University and IU. He served Central Normal College as its Dean and in 1940, at age 28, was named its President, making him the youngest college president in the United States. During World War II, he taught in military programs at IU and butler and later served as a Research Physicist at the U.S. Navy Laboratory at Johns Hopkins University on the proximity fuse artillery shell project, which helped shorten the War in the Pacific. Following the War, he was named the first director of Indiana University Kokomo, which initially served the needs of veterans under the GI Bill. He served IUK until 1956 when he was named Dean of Indiana University Indianapolis, which he served until 1966. During his tenure, he initiated the IU program in Columbus, which has become IU-PUC. He completed his 31-year IU career as Registrar of the IU Professional Schools and as Assistant Registrar at IUPUI.

He served as President of the Kokomo rotary Club and as a director of the Indianapolis rotary Club. He was President of the Indianapolis Council on World Affairs and served as a Board member of the Howard & Marian County Mental Health Associations, Our Lady of Grace, PACE (Public Action in Correctional Effort) and the Women's Prison.

He was a member of Meridian Street United Methodist Church for 48 years and served that congregation and the Methodist Conference in numerous capacities. He also served on the Board of Metro Ministries. He was a Meals-on-Wheels volunteer for over 15 years.

He was a lifelong advocate of the rights of children and the hungry as well as world peace.