William H. Hudnut III

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William H. Hudnut III
45th Mayor of Indianapolis
In office
January 1, 1976 – January 1, 1992
Preceded by Richard Lugar
Succeeded by Stephen Goldsmith
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Indiana's 11th district
In office
January 3, 1973 – January 3, 1975
Preceded by Andrew Jacobs, Jr.
Succeeded by Andrew Jacobs, Jr.
Personal details
Born (1932-10-17) October 17, 1932 (age 82)
Cincinnati, Ohio
Political party Republican
Residence Chevy Chase, Maryland
Religion Presbyterian

William Herbert Hudnut III (born October 17, 1932) was the mayor of Indianapolis from 1976 to 1992. A Republican, his four terms made him the city's longest serving mayor. He previously represented the Indianapolis area in Congress from 1973 to 1975 but was defeated in his race for a second term.

Early life and career[edit]

Hudnut was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, on October 17, 1932. He attended the Darrow School in New Lebanon, New York, and graduated from Princeton University in 1954, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa.[1] He earned a Master's Degree in Theology from the Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York and was ordained a clergyman in 1957.[2]

Hudnut is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church and was the senior pastor of Second Presbyterian Church in Indianapolis from 1964 to 1972. He led the congregation with a moderate but active stance through the social issues of the 1960s, including the Vietnam War and race relations.[3] He previously served churches in Buffalo, NY and Annapolis, MD.

In the 1972 Republican primary for Indiana's 11th congressional district, Hudnut defeated future Congressman Dan Burton.[4] After winning the general election against four-term Congressman Andrew Jacobs, Jr., he served only one term in the 93rd United States Congress. While in Congress he sponsored seventeen bills that became law,[1] but he lost his reelection bid to Jacobs.[2]

Hudnut has received honorary degrees from 13 colleges and universities.

Mayor of Indianapolis[edit]

Hudnut became the mayor of Indianapolis in 1976. taking over from Richard Lugar, who had been the architect of the Unigov legislation that merged the government structures of Indianapolis and Marion County. Hudnut's goal was to change the city from "India-NO-place" to "India-SHOW-place."[5] His mayorship was defined by economic development in Downtown Indianapolis, business, construction, and sports.

Hudnut's policies were entrepreneurial, and he hoped to attract economic development by taking risks with raising taxes and issuing bonds. He opposed deficit spending and kept the city's bond rating at AAA.[5] He aimed for job growth, a widened tax base, and law and order. The city spent large amounts on tax incentives, infrastructure improvements, and development projects to attract business to the downtown area.

Over the sixteen years of his term, more than 30 major building projects took place downtown, including renovations and expansions to Monument Circle, Indianapolis Union Station, the Indiana University School of Medicine, and the Indiana Convention Center. Many office buildings were constructed, and companies such as Eli Lilly and American United Life committed to staying in Indianapolis.[5]

Indianapolis became known as the Amateur Sports Capital of the World, due in part to Hudnut's efforts at marketing the city. While mayor, Indianapolis held the 1987 Pan American Games and the 1982 National Sports Festival. Hudnut formed the Indiana Sports Corporation, which directed sporting projects such as the Indianapolis Tennis Center, Major Taylor Velodrome, and the IUPUI Natatorium.[5] In 1980 Hudnut formed a committee on building a new stadium to attract an National Football League team.[6] With the newly built Hoosier Dome and other incentives, he secretly negotiated with then-Colts owner Robert Irsay to bring the Colts to Indianapolis from Baltimore. On March 29, 1984 he organized the team's middle-of-the-night departure to Indianapolis with Mayflower moving vans, and he called it "one of the greatest days in the history of this city."[7]

Hudnut was also president of the National League of Cities and a member of the board for over twenty years.[1] In 1988, Hudnut was named City & State magazine's Nation's Most Valuable Public Official. In 1985 he earned the Distinguished Public Service Award from the Indiana Association of Cities and Towns and in 1986 a Woodrow Wilson Award for Public Service.[1]

Hudnut was a presidential elector in the 1980 Presidential election.[8]

In 1990, Hudnut ran for Indiana Secretary of State, but lost to Joseph H. Hogsett. He chose not to run for a fifth term as mayor in 1991.[5]

Later life[edit]

Hudnut now lives in Maryland. He served at the Hudson Institute in Indianapolis 1992 to 1994; and was President of the Civic Federation in Chicago 1994 to 1996. In 2004, Hudnut took office as the mayor of the town of Chevy Chase, Maryland.[2] He held the Joseph C. Canizaro Chair for Public Policy for the Urban Land Institute in Washington, D.C.[9] from 1996 to 2010. Since then, he has taught at the School of Continuing Studies at Georgetown University in the MPS Real Estate Program, and is currently Executive Director of the program.

Hudnut has written five books:[1]

  • Minister Mayor, 1987, about his political and religious experiences
  • The Hudnut Years in Indianapolis, 1976–1991, 1995, about city leadership
  • Cities on the Rebound, 1998, an analysis of future successful cities
  • Halfway to Everywhere, 2003, about America’s best suburbs
  • Changing Metropolitan America: Planning for a More Sustainable Future, 2008

In December 2014, Hudnut returned to Indianapolis for the unraveling of the "Mayor Bill" statue on the corner of Maryland Street and Capitol Avenue.[10]

In March 2015, Hudnut announced that he was battling congestive heart failure and throat cancer and that he was nearing the end of his life. Hudnut has reflected on his 16 years as mayor by saying that he "really enjoyed my 16 years as mayor and the opportunity to serve the people of the city."[11]

Electoral history[edit]

Indiana's 11th congressional district election, 1972[12]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Andrew Jacobs, Jr. 91,238 48.8
Republican William H. Hudnut III 95,839 51.2
Indiana's 11th congressional district election, 1974[13]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican William H. Hudnut III (Incumbent) 73,793 47.5
Democratic Andrew Jacobs, Jr. 81,508 52.5
Indianapolis mayoral election, 1975[14]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican William H. Hudnut III 124,100 52.2
Democratic Robert V. Welch 109,761 46.1
Indianapolis mayoral election, 1979[14]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican William H. Hudnut III (Incumbent) 124,515 73.9
Democratic Paul Cantwell 43,955 26.1
Indianapolis mayoral election, 1983[14]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican William H. Hudnut III (Incumbent) 134,550 67.5
Democratic John J. Sullivan 63,240 21.7
Indianapolis mayoral election, 1987[14]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican William H. Hudnut III (Incumbent) 109,107 66.3
Democratic Brad Senden 38,193 23.2


  1. ^ a b c d e "William Hudnut". Great Lakes Metros and the New Opportunity. Retrieved 7 February 2010. 
  2. ^ a b c "HUDNUT, William Herbert, III, (1932 - )". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. United States Congress. Retrieved 6 February 2010. 
  3. ^ Bodenhamer p. 1247
  4. ^ "Rep. Dan Burton – Member of Congress representing Indiana's 5th District", "Library Factfiles", Indianapolis Star, updated 1/2007, retrieved February 25, 2007
  5. ^ a b c d e Bodenhamer pp. 718-720
  6. ^ "Press Release, 'Mayor Hudnut Announces Formation of Committee Encouraging NFL Franchise,' December 1981". Bringing the Colts to Indianapolis. University of Indianapolis Digital Mayoral Archives. Retrieved 10 October 2013. 
  7. ^ Marot, Michael (Jan 22, 2008). "RCA Dome nears last game". WTHR. Retrieved 7 February 2010. 
  8. ^ "Electoral College Information". State of Indiana. Retrieved 7 February 2010. 
  9. ^ "William Hudnut III". Urban Land Institute. Retrieved 7 February 2010. 
  10. ^ [/http://www.indystar.com/story/opinion/columnists/matthew-tully/2015/03/29/tully-former-mayor-bill-hudnut-fights-life/70634412/ "Tully: Former Mayor Bill Hudnut fights for his life"] Check |url= scheme (help). Indy Star. Retrieved 1 August 2015. 
  11. ^ [/http://www.indystar.com/story/opinion/columnists/matthew-tully/2015/03/29/tully-former-mayor-bill-hudnut-fights-life/70634412/ "Tully: Former Mayor Bill Hudnut fights for his life"] Check |url= scheme (help). Indy Star. Retrieved 1 August 2015. 
  12. ^ "Statistics of the Presidential and Congression Election of November 7, 1972" (PDF). U.S. Government Printing Office. March 15, 1973. Retrieved 7 February 2010. 
  13. ^ "Statistics of the Congression Election of November 4, 1974" (PDF). U.S. Government Printing Office. August 1, 1975. Retrieved 7 February 2010. 
  14. ^ a b c d Bodenhamer p. 1356

Bodenhamer, David J. (1994). The Encyclopedia of Indianapolis. Indiana University Press. ISBN 0-253-31222-1. 

13. Listed in Who's Who in America.

External links[edit]

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Andrew Jacobs, Jr.
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Indiana's 11th congressional district

January 3, 1973 – January 3, 1975
Succeeded by
Andrew Jacobs, Jr.
Political offices
Preceded by
Richard Lugar
Mayor of Indianapolis
January 1, 1976 – January 1, 1992
Succeeded by
Stephen Goldsmith