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June 13, 2017
Updated June 15, 2017
Supporters of Northwest Missouri State University – including alumni and friends, students, faculty, staff and community members – came together June 15, 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.
While momentum for the project has been building for years, it took a step closer to becoming reality with the Northwest Board of Regents’ May 25 approval and authorization to award a construction contract to E.L. Crawford Construction Inc.
For the Hughes family, the University’s momentum has played a key factor in its decision to support the project. The Hughes family is 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 who have committed gifts of $50,000 or greater to the project.
Donors have committed $13 million to the project so far through donations and pledges secured by the Northwest Foundation. While multiple sources including the University, students and a portion of the city’s transient guest tax also are contributing to the project, a remaining $600,000 gap must be raised to complete the facility prior to the summer 2018 dedication.
“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.”
John Moore, a 1978 Northwest alumnus and member of the Northwest Foundation Board, shares the Hughes’ sentiments and recognizes the foundation Northwest provided him on his way to a successful 33-year-career with the Federal Reserve System. Moore retired in 2014 as chief operating officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, and he and his wife, Suzy, have shown their appreciation for Northwest by becoming members of the Founding 50.
“I can’t think of a better place to focus our donation because a lot of students will benefit from the facility, and it will add to this great thing that we have going at Northwest, which I think is pretty unique among public universities,” John Moore said. “We’ll keep it going even further into the future.”
The planned 137,250 square-foot facility will be Leadership in Energy and Environment Design (LEED) certified and designed and constructed according to modern sustainability standards. It is expected to include recreation and exhibition space, an indoor flooring system, 90-yard practice turf, 300-meter indoor competition track, spectator seating and tiered meeting rooms.
“I think it’s just going to take people’s breath away when they get a chance to actually see the facility,” Moore said. “It’s going to create a level of energy and set the stage for the next step of success for this University.”
The University has set four goals for the center: promoting health, wellness and engaged programming for Northwest’s students, faculty and staff as well as the broader community; providing a competitive advantage relative to Northwest’s intercollegiate athletics teams and overall programming; enhancing Northwest’s ability to recruit, retain and engage students; and providing enhanced community partnership opportunities and economic development outcomes.
The center has the potential to host a variety of University and community activities year-round. Northwest club sports and student organizations – from Greek chapters hosting recreation nights to Bearcat Marching Band rehearsals – will actively use the facility. All Bearcat athletics teams will benefit from the ability to practice inside the facility during their off seasons or during inclement weather. It also may host intercollegiate and high school track meets, community fundraisers, exhibitions, trade shows, business gatherings, and special events such as commencements and concerts.
A third-party economic impact study reported the center could provide an additional economic development impact of $23.8 million, the equivalent of creating 946 new jobs, for the region.
“It will help bring people to the northwest corner of the state because we’re going to be able to host things for the city, for different businesses, for different organizations, and we’re going to have a facility to do it,” Moore said. “I just think it’s going to be a win-win on so many different levels for so many different stakeholders at this University.”
Added Carl Hughes, “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.”
A grand opening is targeted during summer 2018. To learn more about the Hughes Fieldhouse and how to help, visit www.nwmissouri.edu/HughesFieldhouse.
Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
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Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468