Bulldog Bites

News and Views from the University of Redlands

In memoriam: Virginia ‘Ginnie’ Hunsaker (1930–2021)

Virginia Hunsaker '52 stands with her husband, Rich Hunsaker ’52, at their home in Corona Del Mar in 2015. The couple, both U of R Lifetime Trustees and honorary degree recipients, touched the lives of many Bulldogs with their extraordinary philanthropy. (Photo by William Vasta)
University of Redlands President Ralph W. Kuncl and President Emeritus James R. Appleton write to the community with the news of Virginia Hunsaker's passing. 

It is with the heaviest of hearts that we share the devastating news that our dear colleague, friend, and Lifetime Trustee Virginia “Ginnie” Moses Hunsaker ’52 died in her sleep yesterday morning.  Her passing marks the end of an era at the University of Redlands, a period noted for her dedicated service and unparalleled lifelong commitment to her alma mater.

For those of us fortunate enough to have known Ginnie and Rich as friends, we recall with fondness and admiration their shared love for the University of Redlands, their unmatched commitment to the institution’s future, and nearly seven decades of faithful philanthropy, beginning with their initial modest contribution of $25 following their graduation and including their transformational gift of $35 million—the single largest in the University’s history—to create the Hunsaker Scholarship Prize.

Ginnie and her husband, Rich, met as first-year students through their roles in first-year class leadership and in the Associated Students of University of Redlands (Ginnie was freshman class secretary; Rich, freshman class president), and both graduated from the University in 1952.  She also was a member of Delta Kappa Psi sorority, University Choir, and the dance club.  With a degree in general education, Ginnie taught kindergarten in her early post-Redlands years and later focused her efforts on serving the community.  She proudly served on the University’s Board of Trustees from 2003 to 2012, including as vice chair of the Student Life Committee, and was honored with lifetime trustee status in 2015.  In 2001, Ginnie and Rich received honorary degrees from the University. They were also recipients of the Centennial Award and co-chaired the $100 million Centennial Campaign. 

In 2014, the couple was honored with a special event to announce the establishment of the Hunsaker Scholarship Prize, made possible by Ginnie and Rich’s extraordinary gift of $35 million. Rich and Ginnie intended the scholarship to “find and fund those special leaders who would come after them.”  So far, it has found scores of potential enrollees we otherwise might not have attracted and has funded 47 students who have become the leaders Rich and Ginnie intended, including the inaugural cohort of 16 who made an immediate and lasting impact on the University. The gift also laid the foundation for the current $200 million comprehensive campaign, Forever Yours.  Ginnie and Rich have served as honorary co-chairs of this campaign, with Lifetime Trustee Alice Mozley serving as chair. 

The Hunsaker name is synonymous with generosity throughout the University of Redlands campus, and it is impossible to find a Bulldog whose life has not been touched in some way by their giving.  In addition to the Hunsaker Scholarship Prize, the couple’s numerous other leadership contributions have supported many other areas at Redlands, including the Hunsaker University Center, the “heart” of our campus; four endowed chairs (including one in distinguished teaching that holds Ginnie’s name); generous matching challenges during the Centennial Campaign to various scholarship and other endowment funds; capital projects, including the Memorial Chapel, Armacost Library renovation, Bulldog athletic facilities, the Stauffer Science Center, renovation of Irvine Commons, and arts buildings; and the student science research endowment.

A model of extraordinary philanthropy with her husband, Rich, Ginnie’s words when she was interviewed by Och Tamale magazine in 2015 speak to the couple’s selfless and gracious approach in this way: “Giving is a personal thing—I wouldn’t tell someone to give their last cent to anyone.  They might need it . . . . Wanting to give, that’s what’s important.  When you want to give, you find a way.”

In addition to the University of Redlands, Ginnie supported The Wooden Floor (formerly Saint Joseph Ballet), an organization that provides dance, academic, and family programs to low-income youth.  She and Rich previously served as co-chairs of the organization’s Board of Trustees, and supported dozens of high-need Wooden Floor students through their later U of R educational journeys. 

Ginnie’s legacy is far-reaching, and we extend our deepest heartfelt condolences to Rich and their children and grandchildren during this difficult time.  Given the COVID-19 pandemic, the immediate family is planning a small private service, with hopes for a larger celebration of life when we can safely bring together the numerous individuals within our University community who wish to honor Ginnie.  We will be certain to share those details once received, and, until then, ask you to keep the Hunsaker family in your hearts as we mourn the passing of this beloved “Bulldog for Life.”

Learn more about the Forever Yours campaign and/or giving to the University of Redlands.