Terry L. Hunt
Terry L. Hunt

Terry L. Hunt Named Dean of UA Honors College

One of the world's foremost experts on the human and environmental histories of the Pacific Islands, he seeks to foster "intellectual curiosity and lifelong learning" as dean.
July 28, 2017

Terry L. Hunt, an internationally renowned anthropologist, archaeologist and educator, has been named dean of the University of Arizona Honors College. Hunt will join the UA in September.

"I am delighted with the leadership that Dr. Hunt brings to the University of Arizona Honors College," said UA President Robert C. Robbins. "We are committed to transforming our Honors College to be the best program in the country, and I am confident that Terry is the right leader to help achieve this goal. With his guidance, the reimagined Honors College offers students a program in which discovery, research, inquiry and engagement are threaded through every facet of the experience, making for a unique undergraduate academic career that will benefit our students as we move into the rapidly evolving world of the fourth industrial revolution."

Hunt previously served as dean of the Robert D. Clark Honors College at the University of Oregon, where the college secured a top-10 ranking by Public University Honors, earning a perfect score under his leadership.

"I am excited about joining an enthusiastic team to build an honors college that draws on the unique strengths of Arizona," Hunt said. "A national leader in research, the UA represents an opportunity to foster intellectual curiosity and lifelong learners by integrating research and learning. Student success is the foundation of institutional success, and I look forward to further developing experiential curricula, enabling students to develop cross-disciplinary skills and adaptability in a world of fast-paced change and new careers."

Hunt is one of the world's foremost experts on the human and environmental histories of the Pacific Islands, where he has conducted field research for more than four decades. Hunt has led study-abroad courses for the past 18 years to Rapa Nui (Easter Island), where he involves students in his field research.

"Terry's background as a well-respected international researcher and scholar and also the leader of honors colleges at two notable universities makes him an outstanding fit for the University of Arizona," said Andrew Comrie, senior vice president for academic affairs and provost at the UA. "We are building a re-envisioned Honors experience that goes beyond traditional academic excellence to integrate opportunities for engagement in real-world challenges and creative problem-solving. I'm delighted that Terry is joining us to lead the UA Honors College at this exciting time."

New partnerships and programming were two major initiatives led by Hunt during his tenure at Oregon. He worked with the school's law dean to bridge two top-ranked UO programs — honors and law — to enable honors students to integrate their fourth year of undergraduate studies with their first year of law school. Additionally, Hunt developed research internships and shared seminars for honors students in collaboration with Oregon Health & Science University. In addition to Rapa Nui, Hunt has expanded study-abroad opportunities in French Polynesia and with the University Scholars Programme at the National University of Singapore. During his deanship, Hunt oversaw the doubling of prestigious national awards and distinguished scholarships received by honors college students.

Prior to joining the University of Oregon in 2013, Hunt taught anthropology at the University of Hawaii from 1988-2013 and served as director of the campuswide honors program from 2010-2013. Hunt earned the school's Board of Regents Medal for Excellence in Research in 2008 in recognition of his innovative work on Rapa Nui, as well as a Regents Medal for Excellence in Teaching in 2005.

Hunt's research in the Hawaiian Islands, Fiji, Samoa, Papua New Guinea and the remote eastern Pacific, including Rapa Nui, addresses island trajectories of cultural and ecological change. He is among the most widely published scholars on Pacific archaeology and prehistory, and has co-edited four books relating to the Pacific Islands.

Hunt's recent book "The Statues That Walked: Unraveling the Mystery of Easter Island," co-authored with Carl Lipo, details Rapa Nui's ancient history. The book won the Society for American Archaeology's Book of the Year award in the public audience category in 2011.

Hunt's research was the focus of a National Geographic magazine cover story in July 2012 and a Nova-National Geographic TV documentary that first aired on PBS in November 2012.

Hunt earned his bachelor's degree at the University of Hawaii in 1976, his master's degree at the University of Auckland, New Zealand, in 1980, and his Ph.D. in 1989 from the University of Washington.