"Celebrating the Spirit of Ed Hutton and a New Intellectual Home"

Dedication of Hutton Honors College
Whittenberger Auditorium, Indiana Memorial Union
April 8, 2009


In 1930, Frank Aydelotte, President of Swarthmore College and an early advocate for university honors programs, said, “Our university faculties and our university student bodies contain a great many men and women who are in earnest about the intellectual life. The only thing they need is an opportunity.” 1

For President Aydelotte, that opportunity came through the creation of one of this country’s first honors programs at Swarthmore in 1922. 2 I begin with Mr. Aydelotte not only because of his great service to American higher education, but also because he was a graduate of Indiana University.

Forty years after Frank Aydelotte graduated from IU, another visionary American graduated from this university. In 1940, Edward L. Hutton earned his bachelor’s in business, and a year later, he earned his master’s.

Today we celebrate Mr. Hutton’s visionary spirit as we dedicate the new home of the Edward L. Hutton Honors College. We also celebrate the spirit of opportunity, achievement, and leadership that is inextricably associated with the rigorous challenges of honors coursework at Indiana University.

A Brief History of the Hutton Honors College

The roots of what is now the Hutton Honors College date back nearly as far as Swarthmore’s honors program. In 1923 the Honors Committee in the College of Arts and Sciences studied the form honors should take at IU. In 1929, Reading for Honors was established. 3

But the true beginning of the All-University Honors Division occurred in 1966, and was the result of faculty leadership from people like Warner Chapman, William Breneman, and Samuel Braden. That leadership continued with directors such as Jim Ackerman, Julia Bondanella, Lew Miller, and Ed Gubar, and deans such as Karen Hanson, Jean Robinson, and Matt Auer. 3 I would like to pay special tribute to the tremendous efforts Provost Karen Hanson has made in transforming Ed Hutton’s dreams into the reality that we celebrate today. Would you join me in thanking her for her tireless efforts? Indeed, thanks to Ed Hutton’s generous gift, the Honors College was renamed in honor of him in 2004.

A Truly International Education

Those roots, of course, go much further back in history. As Warner Chapman, founding director of the Honors Division, once said, “[There has] always been something called ‘honors’ in the University.” 5 The Hutton Honors College, and American honors programs in general, trace their roots back to the honors system at Oxford and the Grandes Ecoles in France. Hence, at its very heart, the Hutton Honors College is a truly international endeavor, and as many of us know, that would likely please Ed Hutton.

He belonged to what Tom Brokaw termed “the greatest generation,” serving as a soldier in World War II, helping reconstruct Germany after the war, and working as an international business man. As he explained, “Th[ose] experience[s] profoundly changed my life, so much so that I've always held that those years of living and working abroad were the key to my development as a person and success as a businessman.” 6

Ed Hutton’s tremendous generosity has made international experience possible for well over 2,500 students who have received nearly $4.0 million in support from Hutton’s International Experiences Program to deepen their understanding of what it means to be a citizen of the world. His generosity has made possible the building we are dedicating today, which serves well over 4,000 students who are currently members of the Hutton Honors College. But his gifts to Indiana University stretch far beyond the International Experiences Program and the Honors College.

In fact, they touch virtually every part of campus, from the IU Art Museum to the Alumni Association, from the Well House Society to the Wells Scholars Program, and many other areas. American novelist and descendent of two U.S Presidents Henry Adams once said, “A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.” 7 It is no exaggeration to say the same of Ed Hutton and the transformative difference he has made—and will continue to make—to so many lives at Indiana University.

Indeed, I have mentioned only a fraction of the gifts that Mr. Hutton has given to Indiana University: not only gifts of resources, but gifts of his time, his interest, and his spirit.


As we welcome this superb new building to campus—built of the finest Indiana limestone—let us also remember that spirit of kindness and generosity, of tenacity and adventure, of dedication and learning. It already fills the halls of this beautiful new building.

Source Notes

  1. Aydelotte, Frank. “The Outlook for Higher Education.” Originally delivered at the Symposium on the Outlook for Higher Education in the United States, 25 April 1930. Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society 69.1 (1930): 271-280. Page 279.
  2. Swarthmore’s honors program was not the very first. Harvard and the University of Michigan had two of the earliest programs. While Harvard’s persisted, the University of Michigan’s program did not because of lack of resources. See, for instance, Rudolph, Frederick. Curriculum: A History of the American Undergraduate Course of Study Since 1936. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1977—Chapter 6, “Remedies” (especially pages 230-1)
  3. Special thanks to Gretchen Harris, doctoral student in the IU School of Education for historical information pertaining to the evolution of what is now the Hutton Honors College.
  4. Some of these leaders—Bondanella, Gubar, and Robinson—served in interim positions.
  5. Lewis, Paul. “A History of the Honors Division at Indiana University.” Historical document provided by the Hutton Honors College.
  6. “Edward L. Hutton to be Honored with IU’s Herman B Wells Visionaries Award.” IU News Room. Indiana University Website. 23 Oct. 2002. Accessed 6 April 2009. newsinfo.iu.edu/news/page/normal/616.html
  7. Adams, Henry. The Education of Henry Adams. 1919. New York: Dover, 2002. Page 226.