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Faces Behind the Places of DePauw University

This guide includes historical information about the people behind DePauw University's building names.

Russell J. Humbert

                                                                    Russell J. Humbert
                                                                    May 26, 1905 – June 2, 1962

Russell J. HumbertThe fifteenth president of DePauw University, Russell Humbert, served from 1951 until his unexpected death in 1962. During his time as president, Humbert initiated the Greater DePauw Program, an over decade-long campaign to raise $10 million for the endowment and campus improvement. By 1954, the campaign had collected $1,671,000 including a challenge grant of $150,000 from the Lilly Endowment. Approximately one-third of alumni made contributions. The campaign raised slightly more than the targeted amount of $2 million by June 1961. By the time of his death, the university’s endowment had increased from $7 million to $11 million, multiple new buildings, including the Roy O. West Library, had been constructed, and faculty salaries doubled.

Humbert was a proud representative of DePauw. He was instrumental in the creation of the DePauw Archives to preserve the history of DePauw along with its Methodist heritage. In 1953, he even appeared as a guest on a popular nationally televised quiz show, Twenty Questions, to honor Florence Rinard Van Deventer ’26, DePauw alumnus and originator of the show, with an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree. Uniting his devotion to his faith to DePauw, Humbert served as a host on Indianapolis’s The Church and The Campus television program to mark National Christian College Day. The episode included remarks from Dr. Humbert, faculty, and students along with performances by DePauw students.

Humbert received his bachelor’s degree from the College of Wooster. He then pursued a second bachelor’s degree of sacred theology from Boston University with a master’s degree in the same field at Boston in 1933. Ordained as a Methodist minister, Humbert served as a pastor from 1935-1951, when he became president of DePauw. Devoted to his faith and ministry, Humbert proclaimed his faith in numerous articles, his book, A Man and His God, and a radio program “Faith for Today.” Humbert was bestowed with honorary degrees from eight institutions and served as the President-Elect of the council of Protestant Colleges and Universities.

To honor Humbert’s multiple services and to memorialize the fifteenth president, on October 28, 1989, the university’s new dormitory was dedicated as the Russell J. Humbert Hall.

                                                                         Humbert Hall