William Hudnut

hudnut at bench3Former four-term Mayor of Indianapolis and Congressman, author, public speaker, TV commentator, think tank fellow, elected official, and clergyman, Bill Hudnut is a Senior Fellow Emeritus at The Urban Land Institute (ULI) in Washington, DC, and a principal in his own consulting firm, Bill Hudnut Consultants, LLC.

Hudnut is probably best known for his sixteen-year tenure as Mayor of Indianapolis,1976-1991. He managed a work force of some 4500 persons, with a budget over $450 million. A past president of the National League of Cities and the Indiana Association of Cities and Towns, Hudnut helped Indianapolis record spectacular growth during his sixteen years in office and sustain its Aaa bond rating throughout his tenure. His stated goal was to build a “cooperative, compassionate and competitive” city. He established “a national reputation for revitalizing his Midwestern city,” (The Washington Post) and came to be regarded as “an entrepreneurial leader willing to take prudent risks” (The Toledo Blade). He spearheaded the formation of a public-private sector partnership that led to Indianapolis’s emergence during the 1980s as a major American city. He was actively involved in private sector developments such as the $300 million Circle Centre downtown retail/entertainment complex, the negotiations to bring the Baltimore Colts to Indianapolis, the construction of the 36-story American United Life building in the center of the city, and $157 million worth of sports venues.

Hudnut sponsored seventeen bills that became public law as a Congressman. He has recently stepped down as Mayor of Chevy Chase, MD and as a twenty year member of the Board of the National League of Cities. He was a member of the Millennial Housing Commission appointed by Congress during 2001-2002. Prior to his entry into public life, as a clergyman he served churches in Buffalo, NY, Annapolis, MD, and Indianapolis, IN.  After leaving the Mayor’s office, Hudnut held posts at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, the Hudson Institute in Indianapolis, and the Civic Federation in Chicago, before assuming his position with ULI in 1996.

A much sought-after speaker, “spirited…with high energy eloquence,” (The Toledo
Blade) Hudnut “gives life to the word charismatic” (The Cincinnati Enquirer). He is the author of Minister Mayor (1987), a book reflecting on his experience in politics and religion; The Hudnut Years in Indianapolis, 1976-1991 (1995), a case study in urban management and leadership; Cities on the Rebound (1998), an analysis of clues to the successful city of the future; Halfway to Everywhere (2003), a portrait of America’s first tier suburbs; and Changing Metropolitan America: Planning for a More Sustainable Future (2008). Through his writings and the programs he has organized, his work at ULI has concentrated on promoting responsible leadership in the use of the land and in building vital, sustainable metropolitan areas. Under his leadership, public sector membership in ULI doubled from approximately 2400 to 4700.

Hudnut is the recipient of many awards, including Princeton University’s highest alumni honor, the Woodrow Wilson Award for public service (1986); City and State magazine’s “Nation’s Most Valuable Public Official”(1988); the Rosa Parks Award from the American Association for Affirmative Action (1992); and the Distinguished Public Service Award from the Indiana Association of Cities and Towns (1985).

Hudnut graduated from Princeton University with high honors and election into Phi Beta Kappa. He graduated summa cum laude from Union Theological Seminary in New York City. He has received honorary degrees from thirteen colleges and universities.

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