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Hughes family helping Northwest prepare for the future with Hughes Fieldhouse

The Carl and Cheryl Hughes Family Foundation

Supporters of Northwest Missouri State University – including alumni and friends, students, faculty, staff and community members – came together June 15, 2017, to celebrate the long-awaited groundbreaking of a facility designed to enhance the face of the University, and many of those individuals beamed with pride for the role they’ve played in helping Northwest get to this point.

Among them were Carl Hughes, a 1976 Northwest graduate and member of the Northwest Foundation Board of Directors. A significant gift from Carl and his wife, Cheryl Deweerdt Hughes, a 1978 graduate, through the Hughes Family Foundation, is helping Northwest realize its goal of constructing what is now named the Carl and Cheryl Hughes Fieldhouse.

“During a time when all institutions of higher education are under budget pressure, the completion of this project demonstrates that Northwest is effectively preparing for the future,” Carl Hughes said. “Whoever steps foot on this campus will be highly impressed. The University leadership has done an excellent job of creating broad-based support for the project – from alumni, students, the Board of Regents and the city of Maryville to local businesses and individuals. The community should be proud.” 

The nearly $20 million project represents the single largest public-private partnership in Northwest’s 112‐year history and one of the largest such projects in the region ever.

For the Hughes family, the University’s momentum played a key factor in their decision to support the project. The Hughes family was one of four “team captains” – joining the Mel and Valorie Booth family, of Scottsdale, Arizona, the city of Maryville and Nodaway Valley Bank – leading the Founding 50 team, which represents lead donors committing gifts of $50,000 or greater to the project.

“You get behind something you believe in,” Carl Hughes said. “You get behind leadership that you believe in, and you share your resources – whatever resources you have to help those goals get achieved.”

Carl Hughes, a Turney, Missouri, native earned his bachelor’s degree in business finance at Northwest, where he was a member of the Bearcat football team and active in the Sigma Tau Gamma fraternity. Cheryl Hughes earned her degree in speech therapy and was a Bearcat cheerleader and a member of the Sigma Sigma Sigma sorority.

Now residing in Kansas City, Missouri, Carl and Cheryl raised four children and their Hughes Family Foundation supports educational, humanitarian and healthcare initiatives. Carl retired in 2012 as senior vice president of Inergy LP, a publicly traded energy company he co-founded.

Carl and Cheryl were first-generation college students and appreciate the meaningful role Northwest continues to play in educating students and preparing them to be successful in society.

“Frankly, Cheryl and I have felt strongly that Northwest is a great place for us to invest our philanthropic resources,” Carl Hughes said. “You get a sense that the school emphasizes excellence in all it does – an attitude that better prepares students to achieve their best and become successful.”

He added, “I hope this building gets worn out, and I expect that competition will be keen to have access. I expect the completion of this building will further enhance Northwest’s strategic mission and that the building will be utilized by countless students and organizations within Northwest and the community.”