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Former president, first lady pledge $100,000 to scholarship fund

Dr. Dean and Aleta Hubbard

Decades before becoming Northwest’s ninth president, Dr. Dean Hubbard was a first-generation college student working to realize his aspirations of attaining a college degree and doing it with little financial support.

As he neared the completion of his bachelor’s degree at Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Mich., Hubbard was the beneficiary of one farmer’s financial gift to the institution.

“I didn’t have money and was working 40 hours a week plus going to school,” Hubbard said. “I’m well aware of the value of education to start with and the need students have for financial support.”

As Northwest’s president from 1984 until his retirement in 2009, Hubbard, with his wife, Aleta, helped shape the University as a leader in Missouri higher education and worked to make it affordable for people lacking the financial means to work toward a college degree.

“The Hubbard family is passionate,” said Dr. John Jasinski, who succeeded Hubbard as Northwest’s president. “They are passionate Bearcats and passionate about an accessible and high quality education experience. Dr. and Mrs. Hubbard exemplify the spirit of Forever Green and the importance of giving back and paying it forward. We are thankful for their gifting and are confident this will ignite others to do the same.”

Today the Hubbards continue to fulfill that mission and recently pledged $100,000 to assist deserving scholars through their namesake scholarship and the Dr. Joe Willey & Dr. Barbara J. Orr-Willey Fund. The Aleta & Dean Hubbard Scholarship was established in 2003 through a cash gift by the Willeys, who are longtime friends of the Hubbards, and multiple scholarships are awarded annually to entering Northwest freshmen.

“Scholarships have always been close to my heart. I can’t think of anything better for someone to do than to help a young person get an education in this day and age,” said Hubbard, who also established a scholarship for single parents at Saint Luke’s College of Health Sciences where he was president from 2011 to 2014.

Nine Northwest students received the Aleta & Dean Hubbard Scholarship in 2014, and 14 more received the scholarship this year because of the support of 39 donors who have contributed to the fund. Realizing that impact, the Hubbards are challenging the Willeys and other donors to contribute to the fund so it may assist more students.

“When I read that list I was amazed and pleased beyond words,” Hubbard said, adding that he hopes new contributions will increase the fund to $300,000.

As Northwest president, Hubbard led the University to national recognition for its “Culture of Quality” initiative, which fostered continuous improvement in all aspects of the institution’s operations. Northwest won the Missouri Quality Award four consecutive times – in 1997, 2001, 2005 and 2008 – and is the only educational institution in the state to have done so.

Hubbard’s presidency also involved making Northwest the first comprehensive electronic campus in the United States in 1987, and he supported the expansion of Northwest’s pioneering alternative fuels program. The alternative fuels program transforms recycled cardboard, paper and agricultural wastes into energy to heat and cool the campus, and it saved the University more than $10 million dollars during Hubbard’s tenure compared to the cost of purchasing natural gas.

Additionally, Hubbard’s vision to provide unparalleled learning and research opportunities for Northwest students and faculty in a wide range of disciplines translated into the development of the Dean L. Hubbard Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, which was renamed in his honor in 2014.