Dr. Eugene M. Hughes, Ex-officio member

President Emeritus - Northern Arizona University and Wichita State University

Dr. Eugene M. Hughes, Ex-officio member

Dr. Gene Hughes had a career in higher education spanning over 40 years. All of his academic degrees were in mathematics and he taught mathematics at Kansas State University, Chadron State College and George Peabody College of Vanderbilt 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. He served as president of Northern Arizona University from 1979-1993, of Wichita State University from 1993 to 1999, and as interim president of Eastern Kentucky University in the fall of 2001.

During his career at NAU, Hughes identified NAU’s niches as being the state’s premier undergraduate residential university. Research was to be 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 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, Professor Emeritus of Mathematics at NAU, recipient of the Arizona Board of Regents Medal (1993), Flagstaff Citizen of the Year (1988), Outstanding Kansas Citizen of the Year (1998), and Distinguished Alumnus  by the Nebraska Community College Association. Hughes is past chair of the national Amtrak Customer Advisory Committee, past 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 the highest honor that can be bestowed  by those state’s governors. Gene and his wife, Margaret Ann, have a combined family of 6 grown children, 13 grandchildren and 6 great grandchildren.


’54 AS, Western Nebraska Community College
’56 BS, Chadron State College
’58 MS, Kansas State University
’68 PhD, George Peabody College of Vanderbilt University
’97 Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters, Northern Arizona University
’03 Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters, Chadron State College
’11 Honorary Doctor of Laws, Eastern Kentucky University