Harold Hungerford


English Professor Emeritus Harold (Hal) Hungerford died this month after a long bout with lung cancer. He was 77 years old.

Born in Philadelphia, Hungerford earned his B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of California Berkeley. A medievalist by training, he came to Illinois Wesleyan in 1969 after previously teaching at Cornell and Northwestern universities. Over the years at Illinois Wesleyan, Hungerford built a reputation as an accomplished humanities lecturer, a leader of many travel courses, an advocate of cultural diversity in the study of language and literature and one of the English Department’s best-published Americanists.

Hungerford’s course, Linguistics — dealing with the social, political and cultural dimensions of World English — was among the first IWU courses with a consistent international perspective.

A member of the Chicago Literary Club, Hungerford also served as a trustee of the Bloomington Public Library and was a member of the library board for 25 years, twice serving as its president. He also devoted himself to Read Illinois, a state-sponsored project to spur the recognition and reading of Illinois authors. In 1989, he was named Trustee of the Year by the Illinois Library Association.

Hungerford was awarded emeritus status upon retiring from the University in 1996. That same year, he and his wife, Lynda, relocated to Santa Rose, Calif., to enjoy the warmer climate and be closer to family. . He is survived by Lynda and their two sons, David and Geoffrey.

Plath noted that alumni “may have fond memories of Dr. Hungerford’s classes, or perhaps even the ‘Irish coffees’ he famously hosted for alumni every Homecoming.” With that in mind, “Professor Emeritus Jim McGowan thought it would be appropriate for former students and colleagues to gather during Homecoming and pay informal tribute to Dr. Hungerford with reminiscences . . . and some Irish whiskey on hand.” The get-together will be held at the English House, on the corner of Main and Graham streets, on Saturday, Oct. 4, at 1 p.m., immediately following the Alumni Luncheon.