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Northwest Missouri State University

News Release

Northwest alumni Carl and Cheryl Hughes, through their family foundation, recently gave $100,000 to assist Northwest’s Talent Development Center (TDC) and fund training for student staff.

Northwest alumni Carl and Cheryl Hughes, through their family foundation, recently gave $100,000 to assist Northwest’s Talent Development Center and fund training for student staff. (Photo by Darren Whitley/University Relations)

Nov. 27, 2012

Couple’s gift to Northwest dedicated to improving student success

Since earning their degrees from Northwest Missouri State University, Carl and Cheryl Hughes have realized the benefits of having a college education. Now, the couple is giving back to Northwest so that today’s Bearcats may experience similar success.

Through the Hughes Family Foundation, the Hughes recently gave $100,000 to assist Northwest’s Talent Development Center (TDC) and fund training for student staff. The Hughes’ gift also will help the TDC purchase furnishings and fund facility improvements that will enhance its collaborative learning environment.

“Education has always been very important to us,” Carl Hughes said. “We  wanted to do something to help Northwest in the most impactful way we could. Northwest’s TDC program fits perfectly the educational objective of our foundation. Northwest delivers a critical educational avenue for the region. We are delighted to be a small part of delivering the best education available to the students.”

Said Dr. Leslie Galbreath, director of academic and library services at Northwest, “The Hughes’ gift provides critical foundational training and professional development for the huge cadre of peer educators and mentors who tirelessly work to help their peers be successful students. Developing a learning strategies toolkit and mastering the use of these learning tools is the key to success in the classroom and throughout our lives. The Hughes’ generosity significantly expands and extends quality professional development opportunities that will help our student staff build that toolkit for themselves and their students.”

Carl graduated from Northwest in 1976 with a degree in business finance, and Cheryl earned her degree in speech therapy in 1978. Both are natives of Lathrop and, as first-generation college students, found their footing by getting involved at Northwest. Carl, who came to Northwest on a football scholarship, was active in the Sigma Tau Gamma fraternity and was president of Interfraternity Council. Cheryl was a Bearcat cheerleader and a member of the Sigma Sigma Sigma sorority.

“My business degree was a great fundamental start for my career,” Carl said. “I was fortunate to succeed in part because of the fundamental education I received with my finance background at Northwest. We both felt very good about the educations we received. We’re people whose parents did not go to school, but they wanted us to go to college and supported us all the way.”

Carl and Cheryl reside in Kansas City, Mo., where they raised four children. Carl is senior vice president of Inergy LP, a publically traded energy company based in Kansas City, Mo. They also established the Hughes Family Foundation, which supports educational, humanitarian and healthcare initiatives.

“We’ve been financially blessed, and it’s our responsibility to teach our kids that along with this luck, we have a responsibility to give back to other people,” Cheryl said.

The TDC, established at Northwest in 1986, has a long and successful history of providing strong peer support for all students. The TDC’s primary role is to support students who are underprepared for a rigorous academic curriculum. Supplemental Instruction is offered in many undergraduate general education and gateway courses, and peer tutoring is offered for most undergraduate classes. Additionally, the TDC provides targeted peer mentoring for some at-risk students, including student-athletes and conditionally-admitted freshmen. The TDC reaches nearly all students during their Northwest experience and nearly one-third of Northwest students annually.

TDC programs are delivered by graduate and undergraduate students. One full-time professional staff member serves as an administrative coordinator. Training is delivered by peers using a “train the trainer” method where student staff are assigned a topic related to academic support that they research and present to peers in a brief weekly training session. This methodology is effective in encouraging student staff to conduct research on learning and also provides an opportunity to teach a large group of their peers.

The TDC is housed on the second floor of the B.D. Owens Library and shares space with Northwest’s Writing Center, a unit sponsored by the Northwest Department of English and Modern Languages, which also uses a peer support model to provide writing tutoring for Northwest students.

“Touching every student is what meant the most to Carl and Cheryl,” said Teresa Gustafson, director of strategic donor development for the Northwest Foundation. “After they toured campus it was apparent that talent development was where they wanted to make a difference, and we are grateful for this gift. Most importantly, the impact our students and faculty will receive from the Hughes’ generous support will be long lasting.”

For more information about giving to Northwest, contact the Office of University Advancement at 660.562.1248 or

For more information, please contact:

Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager | 660.562.1704 | Fax: 660.562.1900

Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468