Washburn University will be losing a beloved faculty member after this semester. John Hunter has been a professor of theatre at Washburn for over 40 years, and at this time he has designed over 100 different productions, served as chair of the art and theatre arts department for over 15 years, as well as worked to help create and chair the mass media department.
“I hope I helped [Washburn University] by being a professor, and helped students along the way, with their careers and the art of theatre,” said Hunter.
In addition to his time spent here at Washburn, he has also served as project co-chair for the NOTO Arts District and chair of the quality of life foundation for Heartland Visioning, which according to its website, “facilitates community change to improve quality of life in Topeka and Shawnee County”.
Hunter also worked closely with Desmond Egan, an Irish poet who has visited the campus multiple times throughout the years, even producing a PBS special on the international poet. His work eventually lead to nine different trips to Ireland.
When asked what his favorite memory of Washburn University was, he shared about the time he worked on taking a group of Kansans to Russia to perform.
“We produced the set and the production here in the theater, and that led to a remarkable two-week tour throughout what’s called the Russian Oblasts, which involved three nights in St. Petersburg with productions there and led to some friendships that I still have today as a result of that.”
Gordon McQuere, professor of music at Washburn, has worked alongside Hunter since being hired nearly 14 years ago,
“He is one of the many distinguished people around here that has held many roles here at Washburn, and helped in so many ways…. One of his biggest attributes is his versatility. He can always help out in a lot of different ways. This made him very useful to the university and more recently with his work in the community.”
After his retirement, Hunter plans on continuing his work at Heartland Visioning. However, soon after his retirement, he plans on taking a cruise with his wife through the French wine country, and he hopes to be able to celebrate his next birthday in Paris.