“I like to think that the AFS intercultural education experience works in this way to make thousands of young people around the world become better and more understanding human beings, and better and more exemplary citizens of the troubled world we live in today.”–Richard M. Hunt (October 16, 1926—April 10, 2020)
AFS is saddened to announce the passing of AFS World War II volunteer and Life Trustee Richard (Rick) M. Hunt, who died on April 10, 2020.
Hunt was a student at Yale when he enlisted as a volunteer Ambulance Driver in the American Field Service (AFS) and shipped out to Colombo, Sri Lanka, with his AFS Unit IB-57 (India Burma 57) in May of 1945. He was eighteen years old. From Colombo, the Unit was ordered to Calcutta, India, and then to Secundarabad—a small town in south India—which had a large military camp. Rick spent the next eight months there, during which time he had the opportunity to meet Mahatma Gandhi and hear him speak in person.
After the war, Rick completed his bachelors degree at Yale, obtained a master’s degree from Columbia University and a PhD in history at Harvard University. His career at Harvard included serving as the University Marshal (1982-2002), director of the Mellon Faculty Fellowship Program, assistant dean and associate dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, as well as serving on numerous faculty committees. During his four-decade-long career at Harvard he taught social studies and history, including courses on Nazi Germany and leadership.
In 1952, Rick was working for Radio Free Europe when he joined the AFS Board for the first time. This started his involvement with AFS as an intercultural student exchange organization, which culminated in his being named a Life Trustee in 1966. While at Harvard, Rick served as the faculty advisor to AFS students who were hosted in the Boston area. Throughout the decades, he was a strong supporter of the work of AFS and its intercultural education programs.
“My experience with AFS, both during the war and afterward, influenced my life and my interests. As a young person, volunteering with AFS was very transforming: it kindled my interest in intercultural understanding,” he said.
Rick was one of the founding trustees of the foundation named after his father, the Roy A. Hunt Foundation, which supports organizations involved in community development, youth violence prevention, the environment and international development. His generosity and philanthropy extended to numerous social, educational and cultural causes, and he was especially keen on supporting Pittsburg area communities.
Rick is survived by his wife Priscilla Stevenson Hunt, their three children, William Hunt, Helen Hunt Bouscaren, and Susan Hunt Hollingsworth, and eight grandchildren.