Jan. 1, 1975 Harrisonburg Rockingham County Virginia, USA
Attorney, Madison College Business Manager
Married Nov 10, 1925
William C. Gibbons John H. "Jack" Gibbons Robert "Bob" Gibbons Elizabeth Lynn Gibbons Bucher Pryor
Article from Danville VA Register 6 Jul 1962
Gibbons Is In 37th Year As State College Official
Harrisonburg - Howard Kemper Gibbons counts his length of service with the State of Virginia in fiscal years, and appropriately so.
For this week marks the beginning of his 37th fiscal year as Madison College business manager. At 63, he's considered the dean of Virginia college business managers.
He came to the state teacher's college after World War I service in France, a law degree at Washington and Lee, a brief career as a Lexington haberdashery businessman, and a Roanoke bank employee.
From his office on the first floor of Wilson Hall, Gibbons has kept a conservative and in the eyes of some of the faculty, tight-fisted- hand on the college budget.
The budget has swelled from about $300,000 annually to about $2-1/2 million and the campus buildings have multiplied from six to 32 since Gibbons arrived on the scene in 1925.
The Roanoke native plays down his role in the college administration's sound business management and planning program. The Madison faculty pay scale is among the highest in the state and the tuition is among the lowest, Madison's equipment is more than adequate.
Gibbons, whose plan to become a doctor was sidetracked by World War I, likes to recall a comment by a disgruntled faculty member who once told him: "You spend the college's money as if it were your own."
To which Gibbons replies: "I suppose one could consider that a compliment, depending on how he spends his own money."
Gibbons admits to "being conservative in all things except my respect for my fellow man.
"I don't think the labels 'conservative' or 'liberal' means much today. It's hard to apply the labels to anyone over a period of time in this day and time"
"When I was growing up, we associated conservatism with the man who saved his money, invested it wisely and never borrowed any, regardless of his need. It would be hard to apply that yardstick to conservatism today"
"If I hadn't believed in borrowing money to meet a need, my wife and I couldn't have sent our children to college"
Gibbons and his wife, the former Jessie Conrad of Harrisonburg, have sent their three sons and one daughter to college.
The oldest, William C. 36, holds a PH. D. degree in government and economics from Princeton and is running for the 7th District Congressional nomination in the July 19 Democratic primary.
Two other sons, Jack, 33, who has a Ph. D. degree in physics, and Bob, 31, with a master's degree in physics, are nuclear physicists at Oak Ridge, Tenn. The daughter, Mrs. Elizabeth Lynn Bucher, married to a University of Richmond Law School student, is a school teacher.
Gibbons conservative tastes are reflected in his office furniture, plain and with service that may equal his own.
"But it's solid," he says, "And besides, I have to set an example in money matters. It's difficult for a department head to ask for new office furniture after he has seen mine."
The only modern touches in the office are office machines and an air conditioner.
Gibbons says he has enjoyed all his fiscal years at Madison.
"The facts and figures I deal with," he said, "are more symbols that stand for human beings and their ideas. These are the things which really make up a college."
To the question that's asked of all who work long in profession, Gibbons replies:
"If I had it to do over again, I would, of course, I might be expected to say that anyway, for who wants to admit he has made a mistake after 37 years."