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This article is from the Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, 6 volumes, edited by William S. Powell. Copyright ©1979-1996 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

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Hunter, Hiram Tyram

26 Mar. 1883–9 Oct. 1947

An image of Hiram Tyram Hunter published in 1930. Image from the Internet Archive.Hiram Tyram Hunter, educator and college president, was born at Mars Hill, the son of James Hardy and Martha Carolina Bradley Hunter. After attending elementary and secondary schools in Mars Hill, he was graduated from Mars Hill College high school division in 1908. In 1912 he received the B.A. degree from Wake Forest College.

Hunter served as president of Southside Institute, Chase City, Va. (1912–14); headed the Department of English at Woman's College (now Westhampton College of the University of Richmond), Richmond, Va. (1914–16); and did graduate study at Teachers College, Columbia University, New York City (1916–17), where he earned the M.A. degree in 1917. From 1917 to 1919 he was associate professor of education and head of the department of education at Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Tex. The following year he was professor of education at Baylor University, Waco, Tex. In the early summer of 1920 he went to Wake Forest College to direct its summer school and serve as professor of education.

After receiving the master of education degree from Harvard University in June 1922, he spent the summer as assistant dean of Harvard's Graduate School of Education and in the fall returned to Wake Forest for one year. In 1923 Hunter became president of Western Carolina Teachers College (now Western Carolina University), Cullowhee, serving until his death twenty-four years later.

An aggressive advocate of improved training for public school teachers, Hunter designed a program emphasizing the liberal arts as the basis of professional education. He was a member of the National Education Association, the American Association of School Administrators, and the North Carolina Education Association. While at Harvard, he was initiated into Phi Delta Kappa. In 1942 Wake Forest College awarded him the honorary degree of doctor of education.

Hunter was an active Baptist layman and a member of the Cullowhee Church. He was a charter member of the Rotary Club of Sylva, onetime president, and governor of District 190 of Rotary International (1941–42). He died at his home in Cullowhee at age sixty-four and was buried in the Cullowhee Cemetery.


R. D. W. Connor, North Carolina Biography (1919).

John R. Logan, Sketches, Historical and Biographical, of the Broad River and King's Mountain Baptist Association, 1800–1882.

John S. Ramond, Among Southern Baptists (1936).

Who Was Who in America, vol. 2 (1950).

Additional Resources:

Hiram T. Hunter Collection. Special Collections, Hunter Library, Western Carolina University. (accessed October 28, 2013).

"Oral history interview with Marthalou Hunter, 1999." The Betty H. Carter Women Veterans Historical Project. The University Libraries,  University Archives & Manuscripts. University of North Carolina Greensboro. (accessed October 28, 2013).

Image Credits:

"Dr. H. T. Hunter, President Western Carolina Teacher's College, Culowhee, N.C." Photograph. Official Directory Baptist Young People's Union of North Carolina Twenty-First Annual Convention (Convention program). [Mars Hill, N.C.?]: Baptist State Convention of North Carolina. 1930. 16. (accessed October 28, 2013).