Webster “Web” Hart, of Eau Claire, recently received the James Huff Stout award from the UW-Stout Alumni Association.
The award, implemented in 1999, recognizes UW-Stout alumni, or members of the faculty and staff who exemplify the philosophy of James Huff Stout: learning through involvement. It is the highest recognition that the university bestows.
Stout was considered a visionary in his personal and professional life. The implementation of his principles brought positive changes to Menomonie and the thousands of students who attended his institution, founded in 1891.
Hart, one of those thousands to benefit from Stout’s vision, was greatly honored by the award. “UW-Stout is unique,” he said. In addition to providing an education, “it trains students to identify a problem, analyze potential solutions and, most importantly, proceed to solve it,” he said.
Hart graduated from UW-Stout in 1962 with a B.S. degree in industrial technology. After his freshman year, his career path changed when he met a student planning on going on to law school after graduation. Hart made the same decision, which he said he has never regretted.
His UW-Stout degree got him a job drafting engineering specifications for the Apollo Project at Honeywell. At the same time, he went to law school at William Mitchell College of Law, in St. Paul.
After graduating in 1967, he practiced law in the state and federal courts of Minnesota and in 1968 entered into private practice in Eau Claire, specializing in criminal and civil litigation. He taught at University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire in the criminal justice program until 1982. From 1994 to 2003, Hart served as chairman of the Town of Washington.
In 2008, he was honored by the Eau Claire County Bar Association for his 40 years of practice.
Hart and his wife — they met as students at UW-Stout — chose to live in relative proximity to UW-Stout, which has enabled him to be involved at the university. He held the position of president of the Stout University Foundation from 1983 to 1989, helped with the university’s first capital campaign and facilitated the organization and development of the Stout Technology Park. This year he is on the Board of Advisers for the Center for Applied Ethics.
Hart said his experience at UW-Stout helped provide the tools to succeed in law school and as a trial attorney. “Throughout my legal career, I have tried many product liability and construction cases with greater understanding because of my Stout background,” he said. UW-Stout provided “basic training” and a foundation for his personal and professional accomplishments, he said.
In his letter of recommendation for the award, colleague James Duchemin cites how Hart’s personal and professional lives embody the award criteria. “He is an exemplary member of the community and the legal profession,” said Duchemin. Web Hart has positively affected the lives of numerous lawyers, students, clients and citizens.

Summer Outlook 2012