Eugene M. Hughes

Eugene M. Hughes President Emeritus
Northern Arizona University


’54 AS, Nebraska Western College

’56 BS, Chadron State College

’58 MS, Kansas State University

’68 PhD, George Peabody College of Vanderbilt University

1979-1993, President, Northern Arizona University

1993-1998, President, Wichita State University

’97 HON, Northern Arizona University

’03 HON, Chadron (Nebraska) State College

'11 HON, Eastern Kentucky University


Dr. Gene Hughes had a career in higher education spanning over 40 years.  That included teaching mathematics at Kansas State University, Chadron State College, George Peabody College of Vanderbilt University, and Northern Arizona University.  His administrative experience was at George Peabody College of Vanderbilt University, Chadron State College, Northern Arizona University, Wichita State University, and Eastern Kentucky University.

During his tenure at NAU, Hughes identified NAU’s niches as being the state’s premier undergraduate residential university.  Research was focused on the natural environment of the Colorado Plateau and other selected areas.  NAU continued to work closely with K-12 school systems and developed close working relationships with community colleges.  Significant efforts were devoted to working with Native American tribes and to enrolling Native American students.  In addition, NAU moved to develop nationally recognized unique programs through its Center for Excellence in Education, the School of Hotel and Restaurant Management and its Inn at NAU, NAU Yuma, the Tozan Kiln, the Southwest Forest Science Complex, and through the NAU satellite and microwave television network, NAU-net.

A few of his notable awards include being named President Emeritus of both NAU and Wichita State University, Professor Emeritus of Mathematics at NAU, recipient of the Arizona Board of Regents Medal (1993), Flagstaff Citizen of the Year (1988), and Outstanding Kansas Citizen of the Year (1998). Hughes is past-Chair of the Amtrak Customer Advisory Committee, past Co-President of the St. Vincent de Paul Society, and is currently a member of the Advisory Board of Sunwest Bank. Hughes has also been commissioned a Kentucky Colonel and an Admiral in the Great Navy of the State of Nebraska by those state's governors. Gene and his wife Margaret Ann have six grown children, 14 grandchildren, and 3 great grandchildren.