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April 3, 2018

Alumnus Christopher Hughes joining Student Affairs to develop leadership experiences, support organizational development


Maj. Gen. Christopher Hughes, a Northwest Missouri State University alumnus and thought leader on organizational effectiveness and leadership during a military career spanning more than 35 years, will begin lending his expertise to Northwest Missouri State University’s Office of Student Affairs this summer.

Hughes will work as a consultant, collaborating with the University’s Office of Student Affairs to develop leadership-infused programming and prepare career-ready graduates. The opportunity aligns with the University’s focus on profession-based learning in curricular and co-curricular experiences.

Having spent time with Hughes in recent years and shared discussions with him about leadership strategies, Vice President of Student Affairs Dr. Matt Baker said he knows Hughes will provide valuable insight to University students and staff.

“President Jasinski has challenged us to disrupt from a position of strength, and I think that is the right mindset,” Baker said. “When I think of the reality that higher education is rapidly shifting, Northwest has to continue to develop and explore new models for providing leadership experiences, supporting organizational development and moving the institution soundly through the change maze.”

Hughes, who retires in May from the U.S. Army, is the commanding general of the U.S. Army Cadet Command and Fort Knox, Kentucky, where he governs the development and education of more than 32,000 College students across more than 1,000 colleges and universities. Previously, he founded the Army University in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and served as its first provost from 2013 to 2015.

A native of Red Oak, Iowa, Hughes regularly visits Maryville and often speaks of the pride he has for Northwest. He has met with University faculty and staff, talked in classes and addressed the University’s strategic planning group. As an undergraduate student, he participated in Blue Key, Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC), the Interfraternity Council, theater and the Bearcat Marching Band, and he was a member of the Phi Sigma Kappa fraternity. He met his wife, Marguerite, at Northwest; their oldest son, Capt. Jonathan Hughes, and his wife, Diana, are Northwest alumni.

“Based on his training and experience, he has long desired to give back to Northwest,” Baker said. “He wants to offer his skillset and understands, with the virtue of time, that there is more than one way to give back to his alma mater.”

Baker also noted the initiative is funded through auxiliary funds held by the Northwest Foundation, and no additional institutional resources or operational dollars are designated to support Hughes’ work.

Hughes’ prior military assignments are numerous and have included service as a war planner for the U.S. Army Pacific Command, as the executive officer to the secretary of the Army and as the Army's chief liaison to the U.S. House of Representatives in Washington, D.C.

He has participated in military operations in Haiti, Bosnia, Macedonia, Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan; counter drug operations in Central America and Columbia; and humanitarian assistance operations in Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala, Panama and Honduras. Hughes also served as the lead terrorism investigator on the USS Cole Commission after the 2000 bombing of the ship in Yemen.

After graduating from Northwest in 1983 with his bachelor’s degree in political science, Hughes was commissioned to the Army through Northwest’s ROTC program. Hughes also has a master’s degree in business management from Webster University, and he is a distinguished graduate of the National War College in Washington, D.C., where he earned a master's in national strategic studies.

He is the author of “War on Two Fronts: An Infantry Commander’s War in Iraq and the Pentagon,” winner of the 2008 Army Historical Foundation's Distinguished Writing Award for Excellence in U.S. Army History Writing.

Hughes has received many awards and recognitions throughout his time with the Army including two Distinguished Service Medals, the Defense Superior Service Medal, three Legions of Merit and two Bronze Star Medals, among others. In 2014, he received the Northwest Alumni Association’s Distinguished Alumni Award, and he delivered the commencement address at the University's spring 2011 ceremonies, where Northwest awarded him with an honorary doctor of laws degree.


For more information, please contact:

Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
mhorn@nwmissouri.edu | 660.562.1704 | Fax: 660.562.1900

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