The ties that bind

The family of H. Rhodes Hundley, dean of Doane Academy and language professor at Denison during the early 1900s, gathers on campus at the site of the tree and plaque memorializing their ancestor.

Near a flowering cherry tree, just outside the golden brick Doane Administration building, lies a reminder of a piece of Denison history: a bronze plaque, put in place last fall and measuring roughly 11 by 14 inches, that bears the inscription, “In memory of H. Rhodes Hundley, Dean of Doane Academy, 1900-1927.”

Hundley was dean of Doane Academy, the Granville preparatory school that was housed in what is now the Doane Administration building. When the academy closed in 1927, Hundley became a faculty member at Denison, where he taught English and German.

After Hundley died in 1934, then Denison President Avery A. Shaw said the beloved educator had “built himself into the very fiber of our institutional life. No one could meet him in the classroom, or on the campus, or in his social relationships without being made to feel better for the contact.”

The family has remained connected to Denison. Four of Hundley’s sons graduated from college, and through following generations, dozens more family members joined the alumni ranks. In addition, the H. Rhodes Hundley Memorial Scholarship, which assists students with financial need, was established in 1959.

This spring, grandson John Hundley gathered a dozen members of the clan on the lawn in front of Doane to honor their ancestor and to remember the beginning of their family association with Denison. H. Rhodes Hundley II, a Denison alumnus from the class of 1955, read from a poem he wrote, “Some Things Our Grandfather Might Have Taught Us.” And great grandson Jack Hundley Jr. ’11, a graduating senior from Wyandotte, Mich., was there representing a fourth-generation connection to Denison.

These lines, attributed to Dr. J.L. King and inscribed on the plaque, are a paean to Hundley. “The sweet influence of his gentle spirit will linger long in the hearts and lives of those who knew him and loved him.”

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