overcame obstacles - and now helps Lamar students do the same
Growing up in the turmoil of the nation's civil rights movement, Hunt
faced adversity and discrimination.But her
determination to succeed brought her
through, and now she
helps Lamar University students overcome their own challenges. A lifelong Port Arthur resident, Hunt attended Lincoln High School in the early 1960s, just a few years after Brown v. Board of Education, the U.S. Supreme Court decision that overturned the "separate-but-equal" standard of the time.
Lincoln was still the school in Port Arthur for African-American students.It lacked modern equipment, and the students used well-worn books. Hunt
remembers how excited she
and the other students became when they received new books, a luxury at the time.Hunt notes that while the school was poorly supplied, the teachers and parents were so determined that the children succeed that she
classmates still received a great education. "Teachers at Lincoln High School always told us that we had to be better than the average person to be successful," said Hunt, who was recently named associate provost for student retention at Lamar University.
It was when she
was not at school that things were most difficult.Hunt
grew up in a time of segregation.As a child, Hunt
would have to walk several blocks from local department stores to the bus depot to find a restroom that she
was allowed to use.While the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had outlawed discrimination in America, it would take time for things to change. After graduating from high school in 1965, Hunt headed to Lamar University, where she studied medical technology.
believes things have improved tremendously at Lamar
and it is now a campus that welcomes everyone, things were not easy for her
as a young black student in the 1960s.In classes, Hunt often would have no partner with whom to work on class projects. Hunt
remembers the dance teacher having to dance with her
, because none of the other students in her
dance class wanted a black partner.She
knows what it is like to be in a place where you are the only different one, with no allies or friends.But, she
says, those things are what helped her
become a strong, independent woman.
"The thing that hurt the most was being treated like I was not there.People would look right through me like I was invisible," Hunt says.
After completing her
course work in medical technology at Lamar
secured an internship at Methodist Hospital
belongings in her
father's car, and the two drove to Houston to move her
into the dorms.But when she
arrived, those in charge saw that Hunt
was black and told her
there would be no room for her
says that she
knew there were rooms available, but given the tenor of the times, she
could not say anything about it. Hunt
's father had relatives who lived in Houston, so Hunt went to stay with them, on the other side of town, and began the daily commute.
"I would have to get up very early to catch the bus to downtown.I would be at Methodist in the lobby 30 or 45 minutes before any other students would arrive," Hunt said.
Six months into her
internship, another student, who had become Hunt's friend, spoke with the administration and was able to share a dorm room with her
. Hunt finished her internship and graduated from Lamar with a degree in medical technology in 1969, and went on to get her master's and doctorate of public health at the University of Texas School of Public Health in Houston. In 1973, she joined the faculty of Lamar as an instructor in the biology department.
A hard worker, Hunt quickly rose through the ranks and, in 1998, moved across campus as the executive director of general studies, and most recently was named associate provost for student retention in 2006. Her
passion is helping students find their way, and she
uses lessons she
has learned in life to help others who face problems and obstacles.
"I enjoy helping students.I believe we are blessed to help others," Hunt said. Hunt
was determined to become more than she
was, living by the idea that "It is what you do that will last, not who you are."She
shares that with the students she
advises. "Dr. Hunt is a dynamic leader, a great mentor and a person of the highest integrity," says Julie Alford, retention coordinator of the Center for General Studies.
has worked hard her
entire life to get where she
says you have to take obstacles in your life and turn them into building blocks for your future.That is just what she
is doing now with the students in the Center for General Studies
and will be doing campus wide when the new Center for Academic Success
opens for the fall 2007 semester.The center will house General Studies and will offer programs for students who are struggling with any major.Students who are on academic probation will be advised there and attend workshops and seminars that will help them do better in their classes.
After attending conferences where similar programs were discussed, Hunt
brought what she
had learned back to Lamar
, where she
tailored programs to fit students here. Hunt
husband, Travis, have been married 35 years.