Posted on May 1, 1996

Bill Huntley

Charles William Huntley '34, whose association with Union spanned more than one-quarter of the College's existence, died April 17 at Ellis Hospital in Schenectady after a short illness. He was eighty-two.

Bill Huntley's official titles included dean of the College, professor of psychology, chairman of the Psychology Department, secretary of the College, provost, and Gilbert R. Livingston Professor of Psychology.

Unofficially, he was for many years the College's head groundskeeper, contributing countless hours to planting trees and creating a beautiful campus. He had many other interests, ranging from
bird-watching to antique refinishing, but it was his concern for the campus's appearance that established his campus legend.

Born in Schenectady, he came to Union from Schenectady High School. His father, Charles H. Huntley, was considered an authority on Mohawk Valley history and for several years appeared on local radio as “Old Mr. Citizen” in a series of programs that examined local history.

At Union, Huntley was managing editor of the Concordiensis, where he showed no hesitation in campaigning for improvements. The Alumni Association of New York, in giving him a certificate for devoted service, said he “effectively harnessed the little realized but immensely powerful influence which undergraduates can exert in shaping the college offering. Thus, you helped launch the divisional system of education pioneered by an imaginative faculty group on the campus….”

He received his M.A. and Ph.D. from Harvard University, serving as an instructor of psychology there and at Radcliffe College during his graduate years. In 1938, he married Lee Hoffman, his sister's classmate at Emerson College (Mrs. Huntley died in 1987).

In the fall of 1938, Mr. Huntley became an instructor of psychology at Western Reserve University, now Case Western Reserve, in Cleveland. Three years later, he was named dean of Adelbert College, the men's college of Western Reserve, at the age of twenty-eight. He returned to Union in 1947 when he was appointed professor of psychology and dean of the College.

Mr. Huntley continued to teach at least one course a semester during his years as dean. In 1964, when it became apparent that the job as dean was becoming too administratively demanding and
could no longer involve regular teaching, he resigned to return to full-time teaching. He also was named chairman of the Psychology Department.

He rejoined the administration briefly in 1968 to serve as acting dean of the College. Ten years later, he was again tapped for administrative service when he became provost of the College, a post he held for two years. He was named to the Livingston chair in psychology in 1982 and retired from teaching in 1986.

For many years, Mr. Huntley was a leading force in campus beautification projects. The campus lost hundreds of trees when Dutch elm disease struck Schenectady in the 1950s, but a systematic landscaping effort conceived and supervised by Huntley and Professor of Civil Engineering H. Gilbert Harlow led to the planting of replacement trees and shrubs.

Mr. Huntley was a popular figure on the alumni club circuit, and in recognition of his service to the College the Alumni Council presented him with its two highest awards-the Faculty Meritorious Service Award and the Alumni Gold Medal.

Survivors include two daughters, Deborah Carpenter, of Somers, N.Y., and Elizabeth Huntley, of Greenfield Center, N.Y.; a sister, Elizabeth Fitch, of Lakeville, Conn.; six grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.

Memorial contributions may be made to the C. William Huntley Endowed Scholarship Fund at the College.