Born in Nebraska in 1934, Eugene Morgan Hughes experienced the hardships associated with the Great Depression. Hughes spent childhood summers working the family farm with his grandfather. He graduated from high school in 1951 and then majored in mathematics and science at Scottsbluff Junior College. Hughes earned his B.S. in mathematics, graduating magna cum laude, from Chadron State Teachers College and his M.S. in 1958 from Kansas State College of Agriculture and Applied Science.
Hughes joined the faculty of Chadron College as a math instructor and soon became an assistant professor and department head. A few years later, he accepted a position as assistant to Chadron's president. In 1962, Hughes decided to pursue a doctorate at George Peabody College for Teachers in Nashville, receiving his degree in 1968. Hughes then returned to Chadron, became a National Science Foundation Fellow, and served on the staff of the board of trustees for Nebraska State Colleges.
A meeting with NAU President J. Lawrence Walkup at a conference in Chicago led to a position in 1970 for Hughes in Flagstaff as dean of arts and sciences. Promotions followed, first to academic vice president in 1977 and president two years later. As president, Hughes continued Walkup's campus development efforts, enhanced the health profession programs, and restructured the administration. He emphasized the importance of excellence in all that NAU faculty, staff, and students undertook. The 1980's recession forced Hughes to make some difficult budget decisions, but the university remained strong. In 1993, Hughes left NAU to become president of Wichita State University in Kansas, a position he holds today.
Condensed from Platt Cline, Mountain Campus: The Story of Northern Arizona University (Flagstaff: Northland Press, 1983), chapter XI.
Photograph courtesy of Markow-Kent Photography -Phoenix