Hicks, John W. (John William) (1921-) | Purdue University Libraries, Archives and Special Collections
John W. Hicks was born in Sydney, Australia, where his father was an executive with Paramount Pictures. As a preteen he moved with his family to New Rochelle, New York, and in 1939 entered Massachusetts State College (now the University of Massachusetts). His education was interrupted by World War II.
Mr. Hicks served in the Army Air Corps for three years in the Pacific Theater, stationed on the islands of Saipan and Guam. After the war he returned to Massachusetts to finish his bachelor's degree.
John Hicks came to Purdue in 1947 as a student and earned his master's and doctorate degrees in 1948 and 1950, respectively. After completing his degrees, he began teaching agricultural economics. His love of poetry was expressed in his teaching style. He was so popular with students, his freshman Agricultural Economics course was called "Fun Hour One." In 1955 he was appointed executive assistant to Purdue President Frederick L. Hovde. In addition to Hovde, Hicks also served as executive assistant to Purdue President Arthur Hansen. In 1982 Hicks was named acting president, a position he held until 1983 when Steven Beering became president. Beering appointed Hicks senior vice president, a position in which he served until his 1987 retirement. He was also an emeritus professor of agricultural economics and continued teaching until January 1995.