Memorial Resolution on behalf of John C. Buhner
May 18, 1920 - January 10, 2017
Professor Emeritus of Political Science and Public and Environmental Affairs
Vice Chancellor and Dean of Faculties, IUPUI
Chancellor, Indiana University Northwest
John—Jack, as he was known—was the son of John H. and Marietta Sawyer Buhner, and he was born in Seymour, Indiana. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Franklin College (1942). Then, after marrying Betty Bevis of Sullivan, Indiana, he spent nearly four years in the U.S. Army Air Force during WWII. Serving overseas in the China-Burma-India theater of operations as a radioman, he rose to the rank of tech sergeant. The correspondence between Betty and Jack Buhner (along with other family members) from 1938 to 1945 is preserved as a collection of over 700 letters and photographs at the Indiana Historical Society. After the war, he received a Master’s degree (1949) and a PhD (1963), both from Indiana University.
He began teaching political science at IU Northwest in Gary in 1948 as a lecturer in public and environmental affairs, and he eventually rose to become Dean and Acting Chancellor there (1966-1969). He assumed many different titles in between his initial appointment and his departure from Gary to Indianapolis, reflecting the dynamic and rapid changes occurring across Indiana University as it became a multi-campus institution. In 1969, following the establishment of IUPUI through the merger of the Indiana and Purdue extension divisions with medicine, law, dentistry, physical education, and the Herron School of Art, he transferred to Indianapolis, where he played a central role in the development of the new campus as Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs (1969-1977) and Dean of Faculties (1970-1977). During this time, Buhner oversaw the transformation of IU and Purdue regional campus programs into full-fledged departments housed in newly created schools. In a period of tumultuous change, he contributed not only to the successful emergence of the new campus but also to the attainment of good working relations among faculty and students in each and all of the participating academic units. During this formative period in American higher education, when new urban campuses were being established around the nation, he also served for five years as a Commissioner of the North Central Association, now the Higher Learning Commission, the body responsible for the accreditation of colleges and universities in the Midwest.
In the wake of major transformations in IUPUI’s administrative structure, Buhner left the administration in 1978 and returned to teaching in the Department of Political Science of the School of Liberal Arts and the School of Public and Environmental Affairs. In 1984, he retired from Indiana University, and he and his wife moved to Punta Gorda, Florida, where they remained until returning to Indiana in 2011. In 2006, he and Betty were recipients of the IUPUI Spirit of Philanthropy Award for their support of the IU School of Liberal Arts. His portrait hangs in the IUPUI Library along with other administrative leaders of the campus.
Betty, a teacher, interior designer, and dedicated volunteer, preceded Jack in death in 2012. He is survived by three children, Carol (Charles) Ward, Byron (Terri) Buhner, both of Indianapolis, and John (Sally) Buhner, Jr., of Houston, Texas; five grandchildren and seven great grandchildren. Carol, Byron, and John all hold degrees from Indiana University (Bloomington and IUPUI). Byron has continued the family’s service to the University as a member of the School of Liberal Arts Dean’s Advisory Council and Liberal Arts Alumni Association Board.
WHEREAS, Dr. John C. Buhner served our country nearly four years in the U.S. Army Air Force during WWII in the China-Burma-India theater of operations as a radioman and technical sergeant.
WHEREAS, Dr. Buhner completed his Masters and Ph.D. at Indiana University,
WHEREAS, Dr. Buhner instructed students in Political Science and the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University for more than thirty-five years,
WHEREAS, Dr. Buhner served as Dean and Acting Chancellor of IU Northwest in Gary Indiana from 1966 until 1969,
WHEREAS, Dr. Buhner played a central role in the transforming the Indiana and Purdue extension divisions into Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis as Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs from1969 until 1977 and Dean of Faculties from 1970 until 1977,
WHEREAS, Dr. Buhner contributed to the successful emergence of the new campus but also to the attainment of good working relations among faculty and students in each and all of the participating academic units,
WHEREAS, Dr. Buhner served five years as a Commissioner of the North Central Association, now the Higher Learning Commission,
WHEREAS, Dr. Buhner and his wife Betty Bevis Buhner received the 2006 IUPUI Spirit of Philanthropy Award for their support of the IU School of Liberal Arts,
BE IT RESOLVED: that the School of Liberal Arts Faculty Assembly recognizes and celebrates the life and legacy of a dear colleague and cherished friend,
AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED: that the Assembly expresses on behalf of IUPUI, our condolences to John and Betty’s children, beloved grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
THUS, BE IT RESOLVED: that this memorial resolution be placed in the minutes of the School of Liberal Arts Faculty Assembly for January 27, 2017, with a moment of silence observed in his honor. A copy of this memorial resolution will be delivered to his children.
This resolution was written on behalf of Professor Buhner’s colleagues in the IUPUI School of Liberal Arts and the IUPUI School of Public and Environmental Affairs and prepared by Edmund F. Byrne, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy and Philanthropic Studies, and William M. Plater, Chancellor’s Professor Emeritus of Public Affairs, Philanthropic Studies, and English, and Executive Vice Chancellor and Dean of the Faculties Emeritus.