This story appeared first in the September print edition of The Hilltop.
Steve Hunt is one person responsible for the way Corban looks today. He worked here as Vice President of Marketing, as an artist and as the university’s historian.
After 52 years, Hunt recently retired from Corban with plans to spend his time painting and making wooden clocks.
In 1969, Hunt graduated from Corban when it was Western Baptist Bible College. After graduating, he was offered a job in what was then the graphic arts department.
“Those guys in that graphics department (he was one of them) were really smart and talented people,” Dr. Jim Hills, English professor, said.
The projects Hunt oversaw helped make Corban’s campus more attractive. When Hunt came to Western Baptist Bible College, it was located in El Cerrito, California. He went to college there because his sister was there, but also because he knew it was where God wanted him.
“I followed God’s leading, not so much what I wanted to do,” Hunt said.
Through God’s leading, Hunt made an impact on the new campus, once the school moved from California to Salem in 1969. Hunt became the marketing vice president in 2005 and he led the work, under Dr. Reno Hoff, to identify and implement the new name for the school.
“Very few people have had the impact on this institution comparable to Steve’s, and yet he carries himself with unassuming humility and grace,” President Sheldon Nord said.
At first, Hunt used his talents by starting a volunteer group with Daren Milionis, director of Student Support, to clean up the weeds on campus. Hunt and Milionis wanted the campus to look better, so it would be more attractive to new students. Hunt continued improving the campus by being the administrator in charge of the grounds and facilities.
“This whole campus looks the way it does, wherever you look and see something nice, that’s probably on account of Steve,” Hills said. “He has a way of looking at something and seeing what it could be; artists do that.”
Hunt’s favorite project was designing and building the Resurrection Sculpture, which was very personal for him. He dedicated it to Douglas West, director of Student Success when Hunt was still a student. He said West was easy to talk to and passionate about the gospel. West died of a heart attack while ministering in England.
The 2007 monument, in front of the Psalm Center, is comprised of seven boulders, the last one being pure white. It represents “the spiritual resurrection of the Christian to a perfect glorified body, and life with God for eternity.”
Along with the Resurrection Sculpture, Hunt oversaw the production of the Clock Tower, the Prayer Chapel, the Amphitheatre, the Inspirational Garden Walk Path, the Heart Rock and many other additions to the campus. Hunt picked projects he knew could be accomplished within the budget.
“I have been grateful that he put some order to the school’s archive section,” Connie Edgar, Library Material Processing manager, said. “This was a project I often thought needed to be done.
“He was very creative, liked things done well, had a vision of things he wanted to accomplish and set forth on figuring out how to make it so,” Edgar said.
Students and staff today benefit from those projects as they daily walk past the Clock Tower, through the Inspirational Garden Walk Path and across the Amphitheater.
“The little amphitheater and what’s around it is beautiful,” Hills said. “It looks just like a park. Middle-aged alumni are amazed when they see it. Steve has been a huge asset, and I appreciate that. He’s a good guy, and we’re going to miss him.”
Now that he is retired, Hunt continues to be creative in his free time. He loves to paint and has since he was a little boy.
“That’s just my nature; every day I create things,” Hunt said. “By the time I was 14, a friend’s dad asked me to paint their name on the mailbox,” Hunt said. “That was my first job being paid.”
From there, Hunt started a business and continued throughout high school. He paints whenever he has the chance, but he also does clock wood carvings, averaging a clock every two weeks.
“Steve, we love you and thank you,” Nord said. “I hope you know the extent to which you are appreciated and loved here at Corban. You will be sorely missed.”
Steve Hunt’s art is being displayed in the Barn until Friday, Oct. 13.