Hubbard Honored in Hall of Fame

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Engineering Alumnus Inducted into Iowa African-American Hall of Fame


The late Philip G. Hubbard, University of Iowa emeritus vice president and emeritus professor of mechanical engineering, was honored posthumously Friday, Aug. 3 with an induction into the Iowa African-American Hall of Fame at The Meadows Event Center, Altoona, Iowa. The honor is part of the 17th Annual Iowa African-American Hall of Fame Banquet and Induction Ceremony.

Philip Hubbard"Phil Hubbard made enormous contributions to the UI, and we are immensely proud that he is an alumnus of the College of Engineering," says Alec Scranton, dean of the College of Engineering. "Phil brought his impressive intellect, his commitment to excellence, his strong leadership skills, and his passion for human rights to every task and office that he held. He was the first African-American in several administrative positions, including the first vice president in a Big Ten university, and he provided trusted counsel to six UI presidents. We are proud to consider Phil among the ranks of our most distinguished alumni."

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 UI 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 UI. His academic specialties were electronics and hydraulics, a field in which 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 Virgil 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.

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.