Howard H. Hintze had just completed a volunteer stint with the Peace Corps, teaching English in a Chinese school on the island of Borneo, when he joined the faculty at Interlochen Arts Academy in 1966. Over the next four decades, Hintze proceeded to open thousands of Academy students’ minds to the wealth and rigor of language and ideas in such classes as British and World literature, Shakespeare, the World of Myth, expository writing, and modern European literature.
“I taught the classics because they are the foundation of all the other arts—the great ballets, operas, and so forth,” Hintze explained in a 2004 interview. Arts Academy students, he continued, “see that the classics are part of what they want and need to know in order to understand the history of their art form.”
Outside the classroom, Hintze served on several campus committees and led student groups on trips to England and Stratford, Ontario. In 1985 a Fulbright award took him to India. Perhaps most noteworthy is the fact that Hintze, though a member of the academic faculty, was twice singled out by Presidential Scholars to be named a Distinguished Teacher by the White House Commission on Presidential Scholars. Hintze was also selected by the Interlochen Alumni Organization to receive the Applause Award, which is presented to an outstanding employee in recognition of exceptional service and concern for Interlochen.
“From the teacher’s perspective, I was privileged to see the students’ works in progress,” Hintze recalled. “Being on the inside, watching their artistic process, reading their essays, listening to them chat: this was transformative for me. It was inspiring and exciting, a thrill to be involved with them on the beginning of their artistic journey.”
One of Hintze’s most memorable legacies is a course he taught for many years, popularly called The Destiny Class. “I’ve always been intrigued by chance, choice, circumstance and fate,” Hintze said. “The course I developed around this theme satisfied me and covered the range of literary works I wanted to teach. The destiny theme turned out to be relevant to young artists, and the destiny paper that students wrote as part of that course evolved from my realization that the subject matter was so relevant to their personal experience.”
Another Hintze legacy consists of his financial support for Interlochen, which he says recognizes the commitment of Interlochen students and parents.
“I was always mindful of the incredible sacrifice that students and parents make. On the one hand, the students leave home and cope with all the struggles that this entails. And on the other hand, the parents give up so much so that their children can develop their gifts at Interlochen. My life was changed by the artistic energy of the students. They nurtured me more than I nurtured them.”
“I support Interlochen because we need to applaud the achievements of the students and the sacrifices of their parents. Interlochen is in my estate plans because what happens at Interlochen needs to be encouraged and perpetuated.”