Dr. James A. Huston, a beloved former University of Lynchburg dean, died on Thursday, March 9.
Dr. Huston served as dean of the College and professor of history and international relations from 1972 to 1984, when he retired. A World War II Army veteran, he faithfully attended the annual Veterans Day service in Snidow Chapel along with his wife. Dr. Anne Marshall Huston, an emeritus professor of education.
He is remembered as a scholar who left his mark on Lynchburg in many ways. “He was a person whose ideas just kept flowing,” said Dr. Julius Silger ’62, who served as a faculty member under Dr. Huston. “Some of those ideas have had lasting consequence for the College.”
The College will host a memorial service on Wednesday, March 15, at 2 p.m. in Snidow Chapel.
Born in Fairmont, Indiana, Dr. Huston earned two degrees at Indiana University and a Ph.D. at New York University. He served in the Army for four years during WWII, where he served in various capacities in the United States as well as in Europe. He participated in the Battle of the Bulge and the liberation of Nancy, France, among other experiences he shared with the News & Advance in 2014.
After teaching history at Purdue University for 26 years — with interim years teaching at the National War College, Naval War College — he came to Lynchburg, where he had a profound impact on the academic life of the institution.
“He increased the overall academic atmosphere enormously during his tenure as dean,” said Dr. Sigler. “He encouraged faculty scholarship while recognizing that scholarship takes many forms. His emphasis on scholarship and scholarly activity across the campus led to where we are today, with excellent faculty research and student scholarship.”
In addition to encouraging members of the community to pursue research and scholarship, Dr. Huston set an example as the author of many books about military history and logistics. “He was quite a scholar, and yet he was very humble,” Dr. Sigler said. Dr. Huston is the namesake for an annual award that honors faculty for their research and scholarship.
Dr. Huston created the University of Lynchburg Senior Symposium and helped create the College’s nursing program. He also instituted a unique commencement tradition, in which the faculty leading the procession form two lines through which the graduating seniors walk for final congratulations and farewells. The tradition is often called “the Huston Maneuver,” Dr. Sigler said.