By Ronica Brandenburg/News editor
At the Board of Regents meeting on Saturday, Interim President Eugene Hughes said that he wanted his last days at Eastern to be a celebration. Hughes explained the Navajo people have no real word for goodbye, so instead he would say, “Farewell, but our paths will cross again.”
Oct. 29 will be Hughes’ last day. He hopes to have President-elect Joanne Glasser in the president’s chair by that afternoon.
Glasser was named the tenth president of the university on Aug. 24 after only one hour of debating by Eastern’s Board of Regents. Glasser formerly worked at Towson University as executive vice-president for institutional advancement.
Hughes started his position as Eastern’s “ninth and one-third” president, or interim president, on July 1, 2001 after the resignation of Robert Kustra.
At the end of this month he will be packing his bags, and he, his wife Margaret Ann, and Bailey, the family’s 12-year-old golden retriever, will be heading home to Flagstaff, Ariz. to rest.
“After returning home, I was lined up to be the first general manager of a new housing development in Flagstaff; however, due to the economy crisis, I have told investors that I may want to enjoy retirement,” Hughes said.
Hughes said he has had calls from other universities offering presidential positions.
“I’m flattered, but I’m not ready to go somewhere full-time,” Hughes said.
Hughes reflected on his stay at Eastern and said the people and the area will be hard to leave.
“I think that Eastern is the hidden jewel of Kentucky,” Hughes said. “There is a certain gentleness about Richmond and the university that you don’t find in other places in this country.”
Hughes said that if it were still early in his career, he would consider staying at Eastern.
Hughes has been president of Northern Arizona University and Wichita State University.
He was compelled to stay and help at Eastern after a short visit to the campus.
“I have found students thirsty for knowledge and focused on learning, professors who are focused on teaching and nurturing their students and a hard-working professional staff focused on supporting the mission of this fine university,” Hughes said.
Hughes said his time at Eastern has been a celebration of the campus and the people affiliated with it. He says he will especially miss the administrative staff which he says are very fun and hard-working.
Hughes and his wife plan to return to Eastern, because they felt compelled by the campus.
“Sometimes it takes the eyes of an outsider to see the real beauty,” Hughes said. “Everyone has influenced me so much that we (his wife included) will be back. This is not ‘good-bye.'”