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
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
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.