My Iowa Journey

My Iowa Journey

The Life Story of the University of Iowa's First African American Professor
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“The conditions of Philip Hubbard's earlier life and his struggles to achieve excellence through educational and spiritual endeavors parallel the evolution of equality of opportunity for African Americans in higher education. His personal history is very instructive about academic culture in the context of the larger society. Clearly, there continues to be a need for expanding opportunities for historically under-represented people in higher education.”—Phillip F. Jones, Vice President for Student Services and Dean of Students, University of Iowa

“My Iowa Journey is a story for all people at all times. Whether the reader is secular or spiritual, Phil Hubbard has lived the golden rule in his varied and fascinating life. His is an exemplary story of an ethical and humane person in the twentieth century.”—Willard L. Boyd, Professor of Law and President Emeritus, University of Iowa

“Philip Hubbard's journey tells the story of a life well lived, dedicated to family, education, quality, human rights, and the triumph of the human spirit. In reading his story, we learn not only about his rich life but also about important aspects of Iowa history and the University of Iowa's development as seen through the eyes of a loyal student, teacher, scholar, friend, family man, university administrator, and humanitarian. A delightful read.”—Susan Mask, Director of Affirmative Action, University of Iowa

Philip Hubbard's life story begins in 1921 in Macon, a county seat in the Bible Belt of north central Missouri, whose history as a former slave state permeated the culture of his childhood. When he was four his mother moved her family 140 miles north to Des Moines in search of the greater educational opportunity that Iowa offered African American students. In this recounting of the effects of that journey on the rest of his life, Phil Hubbard merges his private and public life and career into an affectionate, powerful, and important story.

Hubbard graduated from the University of Iowa with a degree in electrical engineering in 1946; by 1954 he had received his Ph.D. in hydraulics. The College of Engineering extended a warm academic welcome, but nonacademic matters were totally different: Hubbard was ineligible for the housing and other amenities offered to white students. Intelligent, patient, keenly aware of discrimination yet willing to work from within the university system, he advanced from student to teacher to administrator, retiring in 1991 after decades of leadership in the classroom and the conference room.

Hubbard's major accomplishments included policies that focused on human rights; these policies transformed the makeup of students, faculty, and staff by seeking to eliminate discrimination based on race, religion, or other nonacademic factors and by substituting affirmative action for the traditional old-boy methods of selecting faculty and administrators. At the same time that he was advancing the cause of human rights and cultural diversity in education, his family was growing and thriving, and his descriptions of home life reveal one source of his strength and inspiration.

The decades that Hubbard covers were vital in the evolution of the nation and its educational institutions. His dedication to the agenda of public higher education has always been matched by his sensitivity to the negative effects of discrimination and his gentle perseverance toward his goals of inclusion, acceptance, and fairness. His vivid personal and institutional story will prove valuable at this critical juncture in America's racial history.