Troy University alumnus Earl Hutto, a renowned news broadcaster who went on to serve eight terms in the U.S. House of Representatives, and his wife Nancy are now giving back to the university that helped launch his career.
The Hutto family recently donated $100,000, which will help support a renovation of the TROY TrojanVision studios inside Wallace Hall. Hutto’s gift brings full circle a career that started with sharing the news on radio and television, culminating with him making the news as the congressman for Florida’s First District.
Hutto is a 1949 graduate of then Troy State Teachers College, and he recalls getting his start as a broadcaster at local radio station WTBF. Hutto said he remembers his years at TROY fondly and is proud to have a granddaughter who will be attending TROY this fall.
“The whole family is excited about her decision to come to TROY, (and) I think she is going to do well,” Hutto said. “I hope she enjoys it as much as I did.”
Hutto was born to humble beginnings in Midland City, Ala. After serving in the Navy from 1944 to 1946, Hutto enrolled at TROY to study teaching, then discovered he had a talent for broadcasting when he began to host shows on WTBF.
After graduating, Hutto took a teaching job in Cottonwood, Ala., but continued to host radio on the side. Through his radio hosting work, Hutto was soon offered the position of sports director for WEAR-TV in Pensacola, a position he held from 1954 to 1961. While at WEAR, Hutto made a lasting impression on a generation of local children by portraying the space hero Captain Supreme on WEAR’s children’s programming.
Hutto said he recalls fondly his work as a sports broadcaster, during which he developed a memorable closing line for his sports segments: “In the game of life as in any game of ball, play it clean, play it fair or not at all.”
“I told that to some professional football players I was interviewing and afterwards, one of them came up to me and said, ‘You mean I should quit, huh?’” Hutto said.
Hutto transitioned from broadcasting to politics in 1972 when he won a seat in the Florida House of Representatives. He was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1979 and served for the next seven terms.
Reflecting on his time in Congress, Hutto said he was proud to represent the people of Florida’s First District, in particular making sure the region’s military bases were well provided for.
“I thank the people for keeping me there for 16 years and I believe I could have gone on and on, but we believed 16 years was enough,” Hutto said.
The Huttos’ recent gift to the University will pave the way for an upgrade to the TrojanVision studios at the Troy Campus.
“We are so grateful for the generosity of Mr. Hutto and his family,” said Rebecca Watson, Associate Vice Chancellor for Development. “This gift will allow future broadcast students to learn in a state-of-art environment and potentially follow in Mr. Hutto’s footsteps.”
Hutto was honored by TROY as an Alumni of the Year in 1980, and received the Distinguished Leadership Award in 2005.