If there is an able laymen who has made a profession of being an able layman, he is W. Earl Hall. In strength and clarity, his editorial voice has sounded through Iowa for generations; and what he has preached, he has practiced.
His interests— and his citizen services at local, state and national levels—have ranged a gamut of causes in the public interest: from highway safety to judicial reform, from the Community Chest to Radio Free Europe, from the Salvation Army to the American Red Cross. "I'm truly sorry," he has said, "for those who have not experienced the comfort and satisfaction which come from believing—really believing—in a cause and doing something about it."
Of all his many interests, education is his shibboleth. He has called it "the one most important business in the world." Education in Iowa has had its spokesmen in each generation. Through these forty years and more, education has had no spokesman more persistent, more persuasive, more uncompromising than he. His voice has become a kind of educational conscience in the state. His words, beseeching quality in schools and teaching, have helped to strengthen that very quality, and to improve the climate in which education of quality may flourish in Iowa.
Long ago, he exercised the option—open to every alumnus—to make his University a natural and continuing part of his own life. His able service as a twelve-year member of the Iowa State Board of Education neither began that exercise, nor ended it. It merely punctuated it—with an exclamation mark.
His University is proud to acknowledge the leadership of his example with the Distinguished Service Award.