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Release: Jan. 11, 2002

Philip Hubbard, UI vice president and engineering professor emeritus, dies

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Philip G. Hubbard, University of Iowa emeritus vice president and emeritus professor of mechanical engineering in the College of Engineering, died Thursday, Jan. 10 at the age of 80 at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.

Arrangements are pending.

Commenting on the distinguished career of the longtime educator, administrator and pioneer human rights advocate, UI President Mary Sue Coleman said, "Although Phil Hubbard had already retired by the time I began my presidency in 1995, he remained an important, active member of the community. He never lost his drive for scholarship and his passion for fairness, equality, and human rights. It was no surprise that in 2001, the Iowa City Human Rights Commission presented him with their first-ever Lifetime Achievement Award. Phil's wise counsel and good example have helped see me and countless others through many significant decisions and events, and his legacy of compassion and principle will live with the University of Iowa forever."

Hubbard's academic career included earning his bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering in 1946, his master's in 1949, and his doctorate in 1954, all from the UI. During a distinguished career that spanned more than a half-century, he served as: research engineer in the Iowa Institute of Hydraulic Research (IIHR) from 1946-66; professor of mechanical engineering from 1954 until his retirement in 1991; and vice president for student services and dean of academic affairs from 1966-89.

Hubbard was born March 4, 1921 in Macon, Mo. His association with the University of Iowa began in 1940 when he enrolled as a freshman from Des Moines. After serving in the military during World War II, he returned to the university where he earned his doctorate in engineering in 1954.

Hubbard was the first African American professor at the University of Iowa. His academic specialties were electronics and hydraulics, in which field he earned an international reputation as a scholar, inventor, and consultant.

He was also a leading citizen of the university community who worked diligently to create an environment in which all students and faculty would have an opportunity to succeed according to their abilities. In 1963, UI President Hancher appointed him to a special committee to develop the first human rights code for the university. In 1965, Hubbard accepted an appointment as dean for academic affairs, and in 1970, in recognition of his strong commitment to the inseparable nature of academic affairs and student services, he was given the added title of vice president for student services. Among his many major contributions to the university community and the community at large was his leadership in the Iowa Center for the Arts.

Other areas of service included but were not limited to the Board of Fellows of the School of Religion, the Iowa Coordinating Council of Post-secondary Education, as well as numerous local and statewide speaking engagements on behalf of the university and the cause of human rights.

He believed the university should be accessible to all who were likely to benefit from a college experience, and toward that end he created the Opportunity at Iowa program. In 1981 the Philip G. Hubbard Human Rights Award was created in recognition of his life-long commitment to the human rights of all people. Also, in recognition of his many years of service, Hubbard Park, south of the Iowa Memorial Union, was named in his honor in 1990 at the time of his retirement.

Willard "Sandy" Boyd, president of the University of Iowa from 1969-1981, upon learning of Hubbard’s death, said, "Mr. Hubbard played an incomparable role in building the university by working constantly to open it to all people and to treat each person individually and humanely."

After his retirement, Hubbard continued to serve his university, both as consultant and through scholarly work in his academic field. In 1996 he published a book, "New Dawns: A 150-Year Look at Human Rights at the University of Iowa."

Hubbard is survived by one daughter, four sons, and several grandchildren. His wife, Wynonna, preceded him in death.