Late SAC Professor Chet Hunt Leaves a Gift of $610,000 for Scholarships

June 3, 2024

Office of Marketing & Strategic Communications

For 28 years, Chester "Chet" Hunt shaped the lives of his students as a journalism professor at SAC.

Although he died in July 2023 at age 86, he continues to make a positive impact on SAC journalism students through a gift of $610,000 to a scholarship fund.  

The gift was announced at a May 17 celebration of life for Hunt at the Scobee Education Center. The contribution gives a sizeable boost to the Hunt Family Journalism Endowed Scholarship Fund, which Hunt established in 2007 in memory of his parents and brother. In the past decade, the fund has provided 23 students with scholarships of up to $500 per academic year.

The gift from Hunt's estate is expected to serve more students with potentially bigger awards beginning in the Fall 2025 semester, said Deborah Martin of the Alamo Colleges Foundation.

The scholarship is open to full- or part-time SAC students taking at least one journalism course, along with other criteria. Students can apply for this and other scholarships by completing the Alamo Colleges Foundation's general scholarship application.

The foundation administers approximately 300 scholarship funds for Alamo Colleges students. During the 2022-23 academic year, the foundation awarded more than $1.9 million in scholarships to 1,895 students, with an average annual award of $1,012 per student.

Chet Hunt 3 web.jpgLegacy of a beloved professor
Hunt came to SAC in August 1978 as a faculty member in the journalism program. He served as a faculty advisor to the Ranger student newspaper and other campus publications and retired in 2006 as chair of journalism-photography. He chronicled his life and career in a blog full of memories, history and humor.

Hunt helped shape San Antonio College, said former SAC President Robert Zeigler. Many of his former students have gone on to successful careers in journalism, with some even winning a Pulitzer prize.

In addition to his professionalism, former students and colleagues remember his kindness, encouragement and remarkable patience.

SAC journalism program lab technician Tricia Buchhorn is not only a former student of Hunt's, but was also his colleague when she joined the program staff.

One of her favorite memories of him is his comforting, reassuring presence.

"He had a calming effect that was unlike any other professor," Buchhorn said.

Buchhorn recalled when, as a photo editor for a student publication, she clashed with another editor about a page design. While the two argued, Hunt quickly redesigned the entire page and put it in front of them.

"In a matter of minutes, he had redesigned the entire page to make us both stop in our tracks," she said. "He never said a word, he just put it in front of us, and it answered both of our demands of each other and created a solution."

He also had a compassionate way of turning feedback into a learning opportunity, Buchhorn said. If the latest edition of the student newspaper was published at 9 a.m., Hunt would call by 10 a.m. with corrections offered as suggestions, Buchhorn said.

"He was never negative and always positive. It was never 'you screwed this up.' It was always 'you might want to look at this' or 'next time consider doing this,'" she said.

When she went on to pursue a bachelor's degree, Buchhorn realized that her journalism training at SAC allowed her to hold her own against other students.

Chet Hunt web 2.jpg"I learned early on that my skills were up to par or better than my classmates," she said. "SAC put us ahead of others at a four-year university."

He continued to mentor her when she returned to the journalism program as a photo adviser.

"He didn't expect you to know everything, so he would guide you with ideas and give you feedback," Buchhorn said. "It was never anything derogatory. It was only to help me improve, because improving me would also improve the department."

Revitalized journalism program
Hunt's gift to the Hunt Family Journalism Endowed Scholarship is the latest in a series of advances for SAC's journalism program.

The program recently became part of the radio/television/film department, making it easier for students to become multi-media journalists and explore news careers in radio, television, print, social and other online media.

In May, the program launched The Sundial, an online student newspaper that replaces The Ranger, which ceased operations in 2021 after 95 years.  

Hunt would approve, Buchhorn said.

"I think he would be proud that there's still journalism at San Antonio College," Buchhorn said.