Our Tiger of the Week honors this week go to two big-city mayors, one former and one soon-to-be:William Hudnut III ’54, Indianapolis’ longest-serving mayor, who was honored last weekend with a statue that commemorates his contributions to the city; and Steve Adler ’78, the mayor-elect in Austin, Texas, who won a Dec. 16 runoff election for the post.
Hudnut, the Indianapolis mayor from 1976 to 1992, oversaw an era of remarkable growth in the city. Last year, officials announced the creation of Hudnut Commons, a downtown park refurbished in his honor, and on Sunday, with help from private donors, the city unveiled a final addition: a sculpture called “Mayor Bill,” which depicts Hudnut on a park bench, in a relaxed, affable pose. “I’m grateful that this is a recognition ceremony, not a memorial service,” Hudnut said, according to the Indianapolis Star. “I’m embarrassed to get so much credit for this and have this unveiled to me. This should be unveiled to the staff who helped pull this off.”
The ceremony preceded a home game for the Indianapolis Colts, the NFL team that Hudnut lured to town in 1984. “Mayors tend to do some gutsy things,” current Mayor Greg Ballard said, according to FOX 59. “Some are risk adverse, some are gutsy, but I am here to tell you that the gutsiest thing I ever knew of was building a stadium without a football team. … Holy cow! But it worked.”
Adler, a lawyer and longtime Austinite, is a relative newcomer to electoral politics. He served as chief of staff for a state senator in the 1990s and has been a member of civic and nonprofit boards. He received the endorsement of outgoing mayor Lee Leffingwell and earned the most votes in a crowded November election, falling shy of the majority needed to avoid a runoff.
On Tuesday, Adler received two-thirds of the popular vote and defeated City Councilman Mike Martinez. The mayor-elect delivered a message of unity in his victory speech, according to the Austin American-Statesman. “If there is a city that is positioned to get out ahead of poverty, and to get ahead of gentrification, it’s Austin, Texas,” Adler said.