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Former Alfred State College President Dr. John O. Hunter passes away

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Dr. Hunter loved poetry and returned to campus to attend and participate in poetry readings. He is pictured here with a student at a poetry reading.

ALFRED, NY, August 7, 2023 – Dr. John O. Hunter, the eighth president at Alfred State College (ASC), passed away from natural causes on Aug. 3, 2023.

Hunter served the college from 1986 until 1993. During his tenure, Alfred State was authorized to offer its first bachelor’s degrees in four engineering technology curriculums; a center for professional development was established; the campus became fully computerized; and a new student services/classroom/faculty office building was constructed. He was also instrumental in involving ASC in an international project in which a college in El Salvador patterned its operations and programs after Alfred State.

“Dr. Hunter led the college during such an important time,” stated current Alfred State President Dr. Steve Mauro. “He started the groundwork of what we are today with the development of bachelor’s degree programs and the building of the Student Development Center, which is so appropriately named after him. I am honored and humbled to follow in the footsteps of leaders like Dr. Hunter who are cornerstones of what Alfred State is today.”

Hunter received his Bachelor of Arts degree and his Master of Arts degree in American studies from the University at Buffalo before earning a doctorate degree in higher education.

Hunter served as a special forces Army Ranger before serving 46 years in public education. After serving as an 11th-grade English teacher at Newfane Central School, he was hired as the first faculty member at Niagara County Community College in 1963. He became Dean of the College in 1968. Before coming to Alfred State, he was President of the College of Lake County (Grayslake, IL). After ASC, he was the founding President of Penn Highlands Community College (Johnstown, PA) and was President at West Virginia, Northern Community College. He was the recipient of the Phi Theta Kappa International Distinguished President Award in 2004.

He published three books on education Reading Yeats and Striving to Be a College President, Values and the Future, and Letters to Young Friends. Hunter also authored three books on Plains Indian history and culture. The seventh book he authored was a compilation of his favorite poems, For the Love of Poetry.

Hunter was a dedicated family man. He is survived by his wife of 67 years, Lyla Beth Brown Hunter. They are proud parents of four children, Elaine (Jim) DeWeen; John (Nayeema) Hunter; Suzanne (Tim) Hunter; and Elizabeth Olver of Hornell, NY, three grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.

Alfred State proudly offers the Hunter Family Memorial Endowed Scholarship given to students that have been inducted into either Phi Theta Kappa or Sigma Tau Epsilon as an encouragement to gain a degree and launch a career as another continued legacy of Dr. John O. Hunter.

Dr. Hunter along with NYS Governor Mario Cuomo visit the Computer Integrated Manufacturing lab during a visit in Aug. 1989.


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