Dr. Giles Hoyt
2016 Hoosier German - American of the Year
Giles Hoyt was born into a German-American family in upstate New York. He received his Ph.D. in German Studies at the University of Illinois after study at the University of Göttingen, Germany. As his titles indicate, Dr. Hoyt has been intimately involved in the study and promotion of German language and of German-American culture in Indiana for a number of years. He was one of the founders and driving forces along with the Drs. Eberhard and Ruth Reichmann, William Selm, Halbert Kunz, and others in the creation of the Indiana German Heritage Society in 1984.
He has taught at IUPUI since 1976 and his contributions to the university, to academia and the German community are manifold and significant. His teaching in the German Program, research and publications, his service, his accomplishments in internationalizing the campus, as well as his philanthropic support are outstanding. Of particular note is the forward-looking work he did to create an exchange programs for engineers and business students while he was at IUPUI. This laid the groundwork for other exchanges, including Firefighters and librarians for the Indianapolis-Cologne Sister City Committee, another group that he has been involved with since its founding.
During his career at IUPUI, and in the years since he retired, Professor Hoyt has continued to do research, to present papers, and has published extensively in the area of early modern German literature and language and German and German-American culture studies. He continues to be recognized internationally as a scholar of German Studies.
His long-standing civic and community engagement can serve as a model for others to follow. During his 32 years at IUPUI, Professor Hoyt taught the German language, literature, culture and history to generations of students. He was involved in the founding of the long-running Saturday German School for children at IUPUI. He received numerous awards for excellence in teaching, including the first ever Professor of the Year award given by the Indiana Association of Teachers of German, the prestigious Ryan Award of Indiana University for distinguished contributions to international programs and studies, and in 2010, Dr. Hoyt was honored with Germany’s highest civilian honor, the Bundesverdienstkreuz.
Prof. Hoyt was also instrumental in the establishment and development of the Max Kade German-American Research and Resource Center at IUPUI, a national model in intercultural and interdisciplinary German and German-American Studies. The Center focuses on the study, preservation, and recovery of documents and other materials reflecting Indiana's rich German American heritage. It is an area studies program and interdisciplinary effort, which brings together scholars from various disciplines at IUPUI, several community groups, as well as national and international scholars. The Center, of which he is Director Emeritus is located in the Deutsche Haus-Athenaeum in Indianapolis. Together with his wife, Dr. Dolores J. Hoyt and Drs. Eberhard and Ruth Reichmann he founded the Hoyt-Reichmann Chair of German and German-American Studies at IUPUI through a trust worth $1.3 million. This will guarantee the continued presence of German and German-American Studies at the Indiana University IUPUI Campus in Indianapolis.
Dr. Hoyt also serves on the board of the Athenaeum Foundation, where he has been instrumental in saving this German-American cultural treasure in Indiana, a true architectural gem designed by Bernard Vonnegut, grandfather of writer Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.