New memorial unveiled during ceremony
A large crowd braved sizzling, summer heat in the Wildcat Commons Courtyard to witness a pivotal moment in Fort Valley State University’s history: the unveiling of two nine foot statues dedicated to Henry A. Hunt, second principal of Fort Valley High and Industrial School, and his wife Florence Johnson Hunt. President Larry E. Rivers, first lady Betty Rivers, Fort Valley State University Professor Emeritus Dr. Carlton Morse, the Hunt’s great-granddaughter Cynthia Hunt Easley; State Representative Calvin Smyre, FVSU Foundation, Inc. president, and Saint Luke’s Episcopal Church Vicar Brian Davy.
Rivers commissioned renown Utah sculptor, Stan Watts, to create and install the larger than life sized models which were covered by two blue cloths before the ceremony. “Donnie D. Bellamy recalled in his book that, ‘Henry A. Hunt remains an empiric figure in Black leadership, and one of the most knowledgeable Negroes in history,’” said Rivers. “With this sculpture, we won’t soon forget the Hunts. We’ll see the fingers of the Hunts and know they made a significant contribution to this campus.”
Dr. Melody Carter, vice president for external affairs and executive director for the FVSU Foundation, Inc. was mistress of ceremonies for the occasion. Vicar Davy delivered the invocation and the benediction. Dr. Annie Payton, FVSU’s new Hunt Memorial Library director, and Dr. Morse presented overviews of the Hunt’s historical legacy.
“I want to say to Dr. Rivers that this dedication is very appropriate. We ought to be proud of FVSU. It’s important to make this dedication a tribute those who sacrificed for our university,” said Smyre.
The Hunt’s great granddaughter, Cynthia Hunt Easley, speaking on behalf of the family, thanked Carter, Smyre, Cheryl Canty-Aaron, FVSU’s construction project coordinator and members of the foundation board for their work.
“My great grandparents would be humble and proud that these statues were created in their honor,” said Easley. “They dedicated 35 years of their lives to not only educating young people, but enriching their local communities.”