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IU mourns friend and benefactor Edward L. Hutton

Indiana University officials noted the passing of Cincinnati-area business leader and philanthropist Edward L. Hutton with expressions of condolences and appreciation for his longstanding support of IU and passion for helping students.

Mar 4, 2009
Edward L. Hutton
Edward L. Hutton

Indiana University officials noted the passing of Cincinnati-area business leader and philanthropist Edward L. Hutton with expressions of condolences and appreciation for his longstanding support of IU and passion for helping students. Hutton, who died Tuesday, March 3, 2009, at the age of 89, was a longtime benefactor of Indiana University and the Hutton Honors College.

Matthew Auer, dean of the Hutton Honors College, called Hutton’s generosity “bottomless.”

“His love for IU was certainly an inspiration for his largesse. But anyone who spent time with him recognized that Ed Hutton had a profound love for students, generally,” said Auer. “Mr. Hutton understood that one’s college years are transformative, particularly when the right kinds of opportunities are made available. His International Experiences Program sends more than 600 IU students abroad each year. I can testify that Mr. Hutton’s student grantees are forever changed, and always for the better, by their overseas experiences.”

“Ed knew that his IU education and the international perspective it helped give him had enabled him to achieve many successes in his life, and he wanted to extend similar opportunities for success to as many IU students as possible,” said IU President Michael A. McRobbie. “Ed’s gifts to IU were not only extraordinarily generous but far-sighted and visionary in that they will undoubtedly provide positive, life-changing experiences for many of our students for years to come. I knew him well personally, and he genuinely exemplified the best of Hoosier values-modest and unassuming, but hard-working and possessed of a penetrating intelligence, with a broad and tolerant understanding of the world. He was one of IU’s greatest internationalists.”

“This is profoundly sad news,” said IU Provost Karen Hanson. “Mr. Hutton was a visionary with a steadfast commitment to making the world a better place. He resolutely encouraged countless young people to aspire to a college degree, and he helped institutions-especially Indiana University-provide the best education possible to innumerable students. He has left a legacy here at IU, and around the world, that is best exemplified by the achievements of the students he has empowered.

“The scholarships he has given, the programs he has created-including the International Experiences Program and the new Political and Civic Engagement Program-along with the magnificent new Hutton Honors College building that he provided and that was just completed this year-all will carry his spirit with us into the future. We will deeply miss him, his friendship and his boundless good will. We will always honor his memory and his extraordinary efforts to make the world a better place.”

In 2003, Hutton gave the university $9 million to establish the International Experiences Program, and IU subsequently named the Honors College for him. The university is matching the interest income from his gift. He also funded the new, $3.5 million Hutton Honors College Building at 811 E. Seventh St. that opened for classes in January.

The beneficiary of an IU scholarship and mentoring from caring faculty members, Hutton was also generous in funding other student scholarships and endowed faculty professorships at IU through the IU Foundation. He chaired the IU Foundation’s volunteer fund-raising committee that raised $23 million for the Herman B Wells Scholars Program in the 1980s. Hutton received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from IU in 1992 and the IU Foundation’s Herman B Wells Visionary award in 2002.

Hutton grew up near Bloomington in the town of Bedford, Ind., during the Great Depression. After earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees from IU, he served in the U.S. Army in Germany. After the war, he worked in Berlin in the occupational government’s Export/Import Division, negotiating trade agreements with several countries to help rebuild the German economy.

“The experience 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,” Hutton once said.

Bill Heller, the vice president for development at the IU Foundation in Indianapolis, also spoke fondly of Hutton’s interest in students.

“He just loved the relationship that he had with the students, from his connection to the International Experiences Program to the Wells Scholarship Program-it made him come to life. He wanted to see that they were well-prepared for their lives.”

While Heller said he first met Hutton through his work as a fundraiser, the two formed a strong personal relationship. “The breadth of what he did at the university gave me many opportunities to talk to him about things,” said Heller. “He was very open about his plans and his thinking; he used me as a sounding board for his ideas.”

Most recently, Hutton supported the university to create a Political and Civic Engagement Program (still in the exploratory phases but likely to launch next fall) to support students with an interest in running for public office. That idea came from Hutton’s conversations with politically engaged students at a cornerstone dedication for the new Hutton Honors College building.

“At a reception for the cornerstone dedication, Ed sat and talked with so many students,” said Heller. “He had a real interest in making a difference. He would ask students, ‘Would you be interested in learning how you can run for office?’ He got us heading down this path to provide students with the special learning opportunity.”

In addition to his generosity to IU, Hutton supported many organizations in his hometown of Bedford, including the Lawrence County Museum of History and the Edward L. Hutton Research Library. He also provided $800,000 in scholarships for Bedford North Lawrence High School students over the years.

Auer said that by creating a new building for Hutton Honors students, Hutton wanted a public space similar to what students have at places like Oxford and Cambridge. The airy, light-filled limestone building has a library with red oak paneling, a great room for distinguished speakers with a projection screen and seating for special events, breakout rooms with meeting space for students, and offices for advisers and administrators.

“Mr. Hutton’s wonderful gifts to IU, including endowed professorships, the International Experiences Program, and the gorgeous new home for the Hutton Honors College in the heart of campus, will be key enablers of scholarship, academic excellence, and student development at IU for many generations,” said Auer.

“Ed Hutton had an incredible can-do approach to life and learning. If we can channel just a fraction of his energy, wisdom, and commitment to academic excellence and public service in the lessons we teach at the Hutton Honors College, we will be successful.”

“He has had the vision and the generosity that have been crucial for the development of the Honors College and that will be central to our evolving goals. Public universities, including IU, can be the cradle of what Thomas Jefferson called ‘the natural aristocracy,’ the grounds of which were not wealth and privilege but virtue and talents. Mr. Hutton himself is proof of that Jeffersonian faith, achieving what he did through talent and hard work, and now he is giving opportunities for development and achievement to others,” said Hanson

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