Gift from Robbie Hughes establishes the Dudley J. Hughes ’51 Teaching Microscopy Lab

Oct 5, 2017

A legendary Aggie geologist’s family has continued his legacy of excellence and generosity with the establishment of a new teaching laboratory equipped with the latest technology.

Thanks to an incredibly generous gift by Mrs. Robbie W. Hughes, the Texas A&M University Department of Geology and Geophysics, in the College of Geosciences, has announced the establishment of the Dudley J. Hughes '51 Teaching Microscopy Lab, which will be constructed in 2018.

The gift was given in honor of her late husband’s “devotion, passion and generosity for Texas A&M University and the Department of Geology and Geophysics.” Mr. Hughes was an acclaimed exploration geologist and celebrated philanthropist.

During the Sept. 29 Department Open House and the Re-Dedication Ceremony of the Dudley Hughes '51 Lecture Hall, Texas A&M College of Geosciences Interim Dean Dr. Debbie Thomas announced the gift by Mrs. Hughes. The new laboratory will add significant opportunities for hands-on learning for geology and geophysics students.

“The impact that this technology will have on each and every student’s future is undeniable,” Dr. Thomas said. “Our mission is to prepare the next generation’s thought leaders for solving the world’s most pressing issues, and this teaching laboratory enables our faculty to teach and train our students specifically for their careers. The impact will be immediate and transformative.”

Dr. Mike Pope, Geology and Geophysics Department Head, said that the lab will be a game-changer for the department.

“Mrs. Robbie Hughes’ gift provides our undergraduate students with a world-class undergraduate microscopy laboratory and will provide them with an incredible high-impact learning experience that is second to none,” said Dr. Pope. “We are very grateful to Mrs. Hughes for choosing to honor her husband with this outstanding gift.”

Mrs. Hughes recalled her beloved husband’s devotion and generosity to Texas A&M, and praised Aggies and the department during the ceremony.

“The honesty, integrity and outlook of Texas A&M are second to none,” she said.

Mr. Hughes grew up near Palestine, Texas, and graduated from Texas A&M in 1951 with a bachelor’s degree in geology. Robbie received her bachelor’s degree from Texas Woman’s University also in 1951, and she and Dudley married later that year. He then served as a first lieutenant in the U.S. Army in the Korean War and was awarded the Bronze Star Medal.

After returning from the war, Mr. Hughes and his twin brother, Dan Hughes, started a company, Hughes & Hughes, for independent operations in Mississippi. Mr. Hughes had an accomplished 40-year career in exploration geology. Dudley and Robbie lived in Jackson, Mississippi, and also championed numerous philanthropic causes in the arts, sciences and church-related organizations.

He received numerous professional and civic honors, including a Lifetime Achievement Recognition from the Alabama Oil and Gas Board in 1994, induction into the Mississippi Business Hall of Fame in 1996, the American Association of Petroleum Geologists' 2008 Outstanding Explorer Award, and the 2010 Colonel Edwin L. Drake Legendary Oilman Award honoring a lifetime of achievement with the oil and gas industry. In 2010 he was given the Distinguished Alumni Award by Texas A&M University – the highest honor a former student can receive from the university.

Mr. Hugues was also instrumental in the establishment of the Berg-Hughes Center for Petroleum and Sedimentary Systems in 2009. The Berg-Hughes Center was named for distinguished professor Dr. Robert Berg, and for the Hughes family, Dan A. Hughes and Dudley Hughes '51 and Dan A. Hughes Jr. '80, in recognition of their generous financial support.

Survived by his beloved wife of 64 years, his two daughters Vikki and Cynthia, and several grandchildren and great-grandchildren, Dudley died on April 21, 2015, as Aggies around the world gathered for Aggie Muster.

More details on the construction and opening of the microscopy lab will be forthcoming.

For more information on giving to the College of Geosciences, contact Rachel Rodriguez at rrodriguez@tamu.edu or (979) 862-1730.

By Leslie Lee