SALEM, Va.-Roanoke College presented its 11th annual Charles R. Brown Award to Dr. Walter Hunt in recognition of his many contributions to the quality of life in Salem at a breakfast on October 19. The Brown Award is named for former dean of Roanoke College and mayor of Salem, Dr. Charles R. Brown.
Hunt's contributions to the school system in Salem are lengthy and impressive. He nurtured the Salem school system from its infancy. Hunt served as the first superintendant of the City of Salem schools, leading the division upon its separation from the Roanoke County school system.
Hunt is a native of Franklin County. He graduated from Rocky Mount High School, where he was president of the student body and captain of the basketball team. After high school, he attended William & Mary where he earned a degree in math. He was the first in his family to graduate from college and did so in only three years by attending two summers. After he taught for several years, he returned to William & Mary to earn a master's degree in educational administration and later went on to earn a Ph.D. from Virginia Tech.
Hunt has taught in schools across Virginia, including Amelia County, Franklin County, New Kent and Hampton. He became principal of Andrew Lewis High School in 1964 when it was still a part of Roanoke County Schools. He moved up to serve as the director of instruction for Roanoke County. After earning his Ph.D. at Virginia Tech, Hunt moved to Roanoke City Schools where he served in several leadership positions including a time as acting superintendent.
When Salem decided to start its own independent school district in 1983, the city turned to Hunt, a familiar face from Andrew Lewis. Hunt returned to Salem, this time as superintendent of the newly created Salem City Schools. He led the city through a smooth transition as an independent school district. His influence established Salem's tradition of excellence from the start.
Hunt retired in 1989 but he continues to impact the educational quality of Salem. He is a long-time member of the board of the Salem Educational Foundation and alumni association. He served as vice president from 1983 to 1999 and as president from 1999 to now. He recently has assumed an important role at Salem High School's annual graduation ceremony: the voice of the scholarships. Each year, Hunt reads the names of the students receiving thousands of dollars in scholarships from the Salem Educational Foundation.
Hunt is active in his community. He's been a member of the Lions Club for more than 30 years. He was a member of the board of directors for Salem Bank and Trust and has been a director of FNB since 2002. Dr. Hunt is a family man who has been married to his wife Avis for more than 40 years. They have a son and a daughter and several grandchildren.
The Charles Brown Award serves to recognize outstanding citizens of Salem who have contributed to the quality of life in their community. The recipient is chosen for following in the example of Dr. Charles Brown, the first true dean of Roanoke College and the only employee to also serve as the mayor of Salem.
Previous recipients of the Brown Award include: Louise Braxton, Dr. Esther Brown, Clarence P. Caldwell Jr., the late Roy Henrickson, Brian Hoffman, the late Norwood C. Middleton, Warren Moorman, Missouri "Mo" Nelson, Gerald Pace, the late William J. Paxton Jr., Ray Robinson and the late James E. Taliaferro.
Roanoke College, the country's second oldest Lutheran-related college, is an independent, co-educational, four-year liberal arts college. Roanoke is one of just 270 colleges nationwide with a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, the nation's oldest and most prestigious honor society. The Princeton Review names Roanoke as one of the "best in the Southeast." Roanoke's 2,000 students represent 40 states across the U.S. and 26 foreign countries.