The family of the late Dr. Richard M. Hunt, who passed away at age 93 in April 2020, has announced its intention to make a gift of $1 million to the American Council on Germany in his memory. Rick Hunt, a respected educator, statesman, and historian at Harvard University, worked tirelessly for more than 50 years to support the Council and its work to strengthen German-American relations. He was the longest-serving President and CEO of the Council (from 1972 to 1988). Rick Hunt began his association with the ACG in the late 1950s, serving on the Board from 1970 until his passing, and as Vice Chairman for 32 years. Before he passed away, Rick Hunt asked his family to honor the ACG with a memorial gift from his donor-advised fund at The Pittsburgh Foundation. The Roy A. Hunt Foundation – named after his father, who had served as Alcoa President for 30 years – has also contributed to the total gift in Rick Hunt’s memory. This gift will be used to create new programs at the Council in his honor, and to support long-standing activities with which he was deeply involved.
Rick Hunt was an inspiration and guide. He was passionate about strengthening ties between Germany and the United States and gave exceptional support to the American Council on Germany during his five decades of service. He was deeply involved in the creation of the American-German Young Leaders Conference, which was launched in 1973, and the McCloy Fellowship program, which was launched in 1975 – both of which remain central to the Council’s work today. He also helped shape the high-level Biennial German-American Conferences which took place from 1959 to 2003 and brought together key American and German officials, military officers, business executives, academics, and journalists. Participants included every German Chancellor, foreign minister, and defense minister, beginning with the administration of Konrad Adenauer, including Willy Brandt, Richard von Weizsäcker, and Helmut Schmidt. On the American side, participants included Dean Acheson, Henry Kissinger, W. Michael Blumenthal, Zbigniew Brzezinski, George Kennan, Condoleezza Rice, Paul Volcker, Richard Lugar, Paul Nitze, Dean Rusk, and Richard Cheney.
Rick Hunt was decorated by German Federal President Walter Scheel “in recognition of the outstanding contributions of Dr. Hunt as President of the ACG towards fostering and developing the existing excellent relations between the U.S. and the Federal Republic of Germany, as well as for his work in the field of student exchange between both countries … .”
In 2003, the American Council on Germany was pleased to establish the Dr. Richard M. Hunt Fellowship for the Study of German Politics, Society, and Culture, to support the next generation of American academics whose research contributes to the scholarly discourse on contemporary German society and the political, cultural, and social history of Germany.
For his Herculean efforts, Rick Hunt was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the ACG’s 2016 McCloy Awards Dinner. In accepting the award, he envisaged that “the American Council will continue to grow stronger in the years ahead and we will continue to create new programs between our country and Germany. After all, this prediction is based on the dream of America’s continuing reconciliation with one of the great nations in Europe, indeed in the world. I will predict that this is a dream that will never die.”
Upon learning of his passing, former President of the European Parliament and former German Bundestag member Hans-Gert Pöttering, himself an alumnus of the ACG’s American-German Young Leaders program, wrote that “Richard Hunt was a great personality, a great human being and intellectual. I always was very much impressed about his modesty. His participation in the Young Leaders Conferences is unforgettable, and we will always commemorate his presence and valuable contributions in the future.”
“Rick was proud of the ACG during his lifetime and has now honored the organization from beyond,” said Ambassador John B. Emerson, the Chairman of the ACG. “This generous gift from the Hunt family will have a significant impact on the future of the American Council on Germany.”
This gift will be used to launch an annual Richard M. Hunt Lecture and Dinner, with a special focus on German history, arts, and culture. It will also be used to provide dedicated support to the annual American-German Young Leaders Conference and to institutionalize regular Young Leader reunions every five years beginning in 2022. In addition, the funding will be used to launch the Richard M. Hunt Speaking Tour, which will bring distinguished speakers and experts to ACG Warburg Chapters across the United States, when it is safe to travel and resume in-person events.
In an effort to ensure the lasting legacy of Richard M. Hunt even further, program alumni, members, and friends are invited to donate to the American Council on Germany in Rick Hunt’s name.