Former EKU president Hanly Funderburk Jr. dies

jkegley@herald-leader.comAugust 4, 2012 

Former Eastern Kentucky University President H. Hanly Funderburk Jr. died Friday night in his home state of Alabama. He was 81.

Mr. Funderburk was the eighth president of EKU, serving from 1985 until 1998. Following his retirement, he moved to Montgomery, Ala., where he stayed until his death following a long illness, his family said.

Current EKU President Doug Whitlock issued a written statement Saturday announcing the death of Mr. Funderburk, who Whitlock called a "beloved friend and mentor."

Whitlock's statement said Mr. Funderburk's vision for outreach led to the construction of regional campuses in Corbin, Manchester and Danville, making a college degree more accessible and affordable for thousands of Eastern Kentuckians.

"Perhaps the greatest legacy of the Funderburk presidency was a commitment to regional stewardship," the statement said.

Mr. Funderburk also was credited with growing EKU's enrollment despite tough budget constraints, as well as the construction of the Dizney and Funderburk buildings and the expansion of the Crabbe Library.

Before serving as EKU's president, Mr. Funderburk was president of Auburn University from 1980 to 1983. He received his bachelor's and master's degrees from Auburn in agricultural science and botany and his doctorate from Louisiana State University in plant physiology.

His daughter Debbie Cox said Mr. Funderburk had fond memories of his 14 years in Richmond. Following his retirement, he and his wife considered staying in Kentucky but ultimately moved to Montgomery to be closer to their three grandchildren.

"They really came to love the Richmond area so much," she said Saturday. "We've looked at a lot of pictures today. There are just so many pictures of EKU and their friends from the time that they spent up there."

In addition to his daughter, Mr. Funderburk is survived by his wife of 59 years, Helen Hanson Funderburk; son Kenneth Cliff Funderburk; and grandchildren Ashley Dahl Denney, Hanly Paul Funderburk and Wesley Reid Funderburk.

The Alabama Heritage Funeral Home in Montgomery is handling funeral arrangements.

Josh Kegley: (859) 231-3197. Twitter: @HLpublicsafety

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