Ohio University alumna Leona Hughes will receive a 2003-04 Founders Citation at the Alumni Awards Gala on Friday, Oct. 10, at Templeton-Blackburn Alumni Memorial Auditorium. She is the third person to receive a citation this year, following Eric Wagner and Beth Stocker.
The Founders Citation, the highest honor presented by the Ohio University Board of Trustees, is awarded to people who have distinguished themselves through exemplary service to Ohio University as members of the faculty or administration, loyal alumni, devoted volunteers or generous philanthropists. Before this year, the prestigious award had only been awarded five times and hadn't been awarded since 1977.
Leona Hughes served 15 years on the Ohio University Alumni Association board and was a member of The Ohio University Foundation board for nine years. She currently serves on the Manasseh Cutler Scholars Board of Governors. She was active in the University's Third Century Campaign and is currently involved in its Bicentennial Campaign. She established four Leona and Lewis Hughes Manasseh Cutler Scholarships and four tuition scholarships to Ohio University for students from her hometown of Oak Hill, Ohio. She also has provided financial support to numerous areas of the University, including the College of Arts and Sciences, Konneker Alumni Center, Ping Institute for the Teaching of the Humanities, Greek life, Alden Library and others.
She also is co-founder of Ohio University's Suncoast Alumni Chapter, now in its 30th year. Her Ohio University accolades include induction into the Greek Alumni Hall of Fame and receipt of the John C. Baker Founder's Award. The Ohio University Alumni Association has given her the Distinguished Service Award, Alumna of the Year Award and a Medal of Merit.
Hughes was employed at Ohio University for 11 years, including in the offices of President Elmer Bryan, the Extension Division and the Bureau of Appointments. She earned her bachelor's degree in education and an honorary degree from Ohio University. She also holds a master of arts degree from New York University and an honorary doctor of humanities degree from the University of South Florida.
Active in the Phi Mu sorority, Phi Mu Foundation, PEO Sisterhood, Field Club and Presbyterian church, she endowed the Lewis and Leona Hughes Chair in Nursing Informatics at the University of South Florida in conjunction with Sarasota Memorial Hospital, enabling registered nurses to complete bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees in nursing.
After the death of her husband, Lewis Hughes, in 1971, she assumed the presidency of Hughes-Burnett Inc., a family-owned company in Sarasota, Fla.