Mary Ruth Howell Glover stood in the courtyard area behind the Alumni House, and everywhere she looked was a memory of the man who served as Arkansas Tech president for 35 years --- her grandfather, Joseph W. Hull.
"When he came home at the end of the day, he would take off his hat, his suitcoat and his tie," said Glover. "He always wore a white dress shirt that was stiff as a board, and he was meticulous about his shoes. He shined his own shoes in the laundry area in the back of the house."
Hull and his family lived in what is now known as the Alumni House from the time it was built in 1935 until his retirement as president in 1967.
Hull was Tech president from 1932-67. During those three-and-a-half decades, he helped usher the institution from a small junior college to a modern, four-year college.
On Friday, June 18, Glover (photographed, far left) and three other members of Hull's family --- son-in-law Milton Howell (middle), granddaughter Elisa Chavez (far right) and great-granddaughter Clara Chavez-Ives (front) --- received a tour of the Alumni House from members of the Arkansas Tech Alumni Office staff.
They told how the front reception room of the Alumni House was once the living room, and how President and Mrs. Hull would greet guests while standing just to the right of the fireplace.
They remembered Mrs. Hull's sewing machine in the west bedroom, and they marveled at the fact that the original tile was still in place in the restrooms just as they recalled it.
Glover studied the rock wall that circles the building. At first she thought the wall might have been taller at one time, but then she realized she was a little shorter back then.
The perimeter of the building also brought back memories of Mrs. Hull's "green thumb."
"Every square inch that wasn't sidewalk had perennials, roses, lillies and hibiscus bushes," said Glover.
Some of the warmest remembrances that Hull's family shared were of times when the entire family would gather at the president's home.
"There was always a large bowl of popcorn," said Glover. "Dr. Hull would sit on the back porch and munch on that bowl of popcorn while we played in the backyard. Every Sunday we would make homemade ice cream in the laundry room."
Much has changed at the Alumni House, and across the Arkansas Tech campus, since Hull's retirement 43 years ago.
But for a little while on a Friday afternoon, personal memories of the longest-serving president in school history came flooding back.]]>