Bulldog Blog

News and Views from the University of Redlands

Lasting legacy: Remembering Rich Hunsaker ’52 and Ginnie Moses Hunsaker ’52

In January, the University of Redlands community was devastated by the loss of two of its most honored and beloved alumni, Ginnie Moses Hunsaker ’52 on Jan. 3 and Rich Hunsaker ’52 just nine days later on Jan. 12. Their passings mark the end of an era for the University, as the couple shared a deep love for their alma mater and transformed Redlands in unparalleled ways.

When reflecting on their giving to the University, Rich said, “Redlands is a small university, and our gifts can really make a difference. … We can see the good that our gifts do, and I think that’s the main motivation for us to give.” 

The couple is survived by their four children, Debbie Edgcomb, Brian Hunsaker, David Hunsaker, and Edie Barvin; their spouses, John Edgcomb, Nancy Hunsaker, and Elizabeth Hunsaker; 12 grandchildren; seven great-grandchildren; and Rich’s late brother’s wife, Beverly Hunsaker. In lieu of flowers, the Hunsaker family has requested memorial gifts to the Hunsaker Scholarship Prize Endowment. Gifts may be sent to University of Redlands, Office of Development, P.O. Box 3080, Redlands, CA 92373 or made online at www.redlands.edu/givenow

Forever ours: Tributes to Rich and Ginnie Hunsaker

Rich and Ginnie’s impact is truly unmatched, perhaps most evident in the ongoing “ripple effect” on all members of the University community—past, present, and future. Och Tamale invited several trustees, alumni, faculty, and friends to share their reflections on the Hunsakers’ lasting legacy.

Selfless, genuine, fun-loving, and devoted are among the many words that flood our minds when thinking about Rich and Ginnie. Our friendship deepened in 2016 when they invited us to join them on an alumni cruise to Alaska, and we enjoyed lunch with them every three months until the pandemic hit. 

We will never forget the Board of Trustees’ announcement regarding the Hunsakers’ first million-dollar gift to endow a faculty chair. This demonstration of their love for the institution was an emotional experience. We still remember the standing ovation and many more celebrations of their generosity over the years. A longtime member of the Student Life Committee, Ginnie often expressed how the students were the heart of the University. The Hunsaker Scholarship Prize was a brilliant example of this belief. They were proud of these students, just as they were proud of their children and grandchildren—Ginnie’s purse with their family photo featured on it said it all! We are so very fortunate the Hunsakers cared so much for their University. Their expressions of that love will carry forward for years and years, benefiting students and those who follow in their footsteps.
—Char Burgess ’69, ’71, dean emerita, and Larry Burgess ’67, trustee 

I have been a faculty member in the University’s Biology Department for more than 20 years. During that time, I have been privileged to see the power of the Hunsaker family’s philanthropy. There is no place on campus that better illustrates the University as a community than the Hunsaker University Center—it is the center of campus. As the Hunsaker Chair for Teaching Excellence, I work to support all faculty to continue to improve their teaching, often by sharing our successes and innovations, sometimes by bringing in talented instructors from outside of the University so we can learn about their practice with pedagogies. I also had the honor of being the mentor for the inaugural class of Hunsaker Scholars, a group of 16 incredibly talented students. We continue to see the impact of all subsequent classes of Hunsaker Scholars. 
—Ben Aronson, Virginia Hunsaker Chair in Distinguished Teaching

Rich and Ginnie Hunsaker’s scholarship donation made it possible for me to attend the University. Their commitment to making higher education accessible to all is a true testament to their character; they saw something special in Redlands and made it their mission to help others have a great college experience like theirs. 

The Hunsaker Scholarship Prize not only made the University financially accessible for me, but it also provided a community that shaped my college experience. It united me with some of my dearest friends and helped connect me with mentors, staff, and faculty who were there for our cohort from orientation to graduation. The Hunsakers’ gift was life-changing for me and my cohort, and I couldn’t be more grateful.
—Willow Higgins ’19, Hunsaker Scholar from the inaugural cohort

After I arrived on campus in 2018, I quickly learned about the magnificent impact that Rich and Ginnie Hunsaker had on the University. As I got to know them, I realized that Rich and Ginnie served as the embodiment of generosity in its truest form. Through their service on the Board of Trustees and countless committees, panels, and groups over the decades, they gifted our University with the treasure of their time. Through their support, advice, and mentorship to students, faculty, Board members, and presidents, they gave their talents. While their philanthropic gifts transformed our University in many incredible ways, the humble generosity of their spirit has also left an indelible legacy on our community. We see this spirit in the thousands of service hours our students volunteer to our local organizations and the additional duties that our faculty and staff have shouldered from the pandemic. I see this generosity of spirit throughout our community in so many ways, and I cannot help but think that Rich and Ginnie are still so proud of their alma mater.
—Tamara Michel Josserand, vice president for advancement

The Hunsakers did so much for our Global Business program! First, they supported my chair in management focused on global business. Then they endowed a second chair [which Walter Hutchens holds] in global business. Rich attended our annual dinners for the past 10 years and was active in mentoring our students. We could always count on the Hunsakers to support our efforts, and it was because of their strong investment that many alumni created their own programs within Global Business. The Hunsakers were the lynchpins that made the program what it is today.
—Jack Osborn, Hunsaker Chair in Management

Bonnie and I first met Rich and Ginnie Hunsaker when I joined the Board of Trustees in 1987. They immediately struck us as warm, cheerful, friendly, humble, and genuine folks—which turned out to be unfailingly the case as we worked closely together for the next 34 years. Ginnie and I connected with our discovery that, as children, we grew up (albeit a dozen years apart) within one block of each other in Glendale and attended the same schools.

During his 15 years as Board chair, Rich (in partnership with President Emeritus Jim Appleton and a committed Board of Trustees) led the University’s recovery and resurgence after difficult financial years in the 1970s and early 1980s. Following his chairmanship, Rich continued as a member of the Trustee Executive Committee, ultimately serving 48 years as a trustee. Ginnie joined the Board as an active member, and together they provided the University with invaluable leadership, continuity, and stability.

The Hunsakers’ unprecedented generosity of loyalty, time, talent, and treasure to the University was coupled with their unusually modest and unassuming, yet inspirational, leadership by example. They never regarded their prominence as an entitlement to exercise personal control over others or the University’s direction. In my experience, that humility and generosity of spirit are quite unusual, and I have always admired their selfless leadership. They truly loved the University, and both fit perfectly into the Biblical assessment: “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
—Richard Fisher ’65, Board Chair Emeritus and trustee

When Jim Appleton and Frank Wong invited me in 1991 to become the inaugural holder of the Virginia Hunsaker Chair in Distinguished Teaching, I was, of course, delighted and looked forward to meeting the University’s generous benefactor. At a subsequent dinner to celebrate the new endowment, Ginnie asked me where I’d grown up.

“Just down the road,” I answered, “in Glendale.”

“Really?” she exclaimed. “That’s my hometown, too!”

Grateful for the connection, we started telling Glendale stories. There were two high schools in town then, and I asked her which one she attended.

“Glendale High,” she answered.

“I went to Hoover,” I replied. “But maybe you ran across my mother, Alice McDonald, who taught history at Glendale?”

“Alice McDonald! She was my favorite teacher!” 

A wonderful coincidence—a teaching chair to the son of her favorite teacher—led to a much closer relationship between us. Ginnie visited my mother, then in her 90s, several times in Redlands, renewing their relationship. My mother, in turn, was delighted; Ginnie’s gift of a “distinguished teaching” chair had much deeper roots in both our families than any of us could
have imagined.
—Bill McDonald, inaugural Virginia Hunsaker Chair in Distinguished Teaching

Carol and I met Rich and Ginnie in 1987 at the Center Club in Orange County, and it was their enthusiasm and commitment to the University that convinced us that we also wanted to be a part of the exciting future of the U of R. Rich was the best Board chair one could imagine. His advice was invaluable; he liked to think “big”; he was very engaged but understood the difference between policy and detailed implementation, so the fit was perfect. Ginnie was an unassuming mentor and friend, so observant of the interests and needs of others, with high standards for herself and all of us. Her advice never went unheeded. Her love for her wonderful family brought a twinkle to her eyes. 

We all know about their enormous generosity to so many places that they touched. Once they completed a given commitment at the University, Rich was willing to consider our next important development. Their heartfelt gifts transformed the landscape of this University; their legacy will be honored forever. Just as impressive, Carol and I experienced the enviable balance between their humble spirits, gracious manner, and drive for excellence. Our hearts are filled with joy from the times spent with this marvelous couple whose lives are indelibly linked to our University. We also experience a deep pain with their passing. We have the highest admiration and most profound love for Richard and Virginia Hunsaker.
—Jim Appleton, president emeritus 

 

If you wish to share your reflections on the Hunsakers’ legacy, email ochtamale@redlands.edu. Explore the Summer 2021 issue of Och Tamale magazine.