NAU President Rita Cheng honored Margaret Ann Hughes, alumna, retired education faculty member and Student Affairs administrator, during  an open house ceremony in the Student and Academic Services on Jan. 29.

A plaque recognizing Hughes’s contributions over nearly 25 years of service to NAU will be placed in the Undergraduate Admissions and Orientation center.

“Margaret Ann dedicated much of her career to streamlining processes, from admissions to enrollment, so students could focus on their studies,” Cheng said. “She recognized the importance of giving students individual attention and care. It’s no surprise that many students called her Dr. Mom.”

Hughes joined NAU in 1972 as assistant dean of Students, then became an assistant vice president of Student Affairs and an associate professor in the College of Education. She played a key role in establishing NAU’s Center for Excellence in Education and helped build a graduate program for student affairs professionals. She also created the Northern Lights, a student-led orientation and campus tour program that endures today as the True Blue Ambassadors.

Hughes said the honor took her by complete surprise. Her family was in on the secret, and emerged from the audience when the plaque presentation began.

“I was so surprised and shocked, in fact, that I didn’t even recognize my own family members standing in the crowd,” she said. “I feel especially honored to have been recognized by President Cheng—it meant the world to me.”

Hughes engaged in outreach to alumni who led K12 institutions around the state, broadening the university’s recruitment efforts in Arizona high schools. As an associate professor, Hughes taught freshman to graduate level courses in the College of Education and helped develop the master programs in educational psychology and educational leadership. She retired from NAU in 1995 and was inducted into the College of Education’s Hall of Fame in 2014.

Hughes earned a doctorate from NAU in educational administration, her second doctoral degree.

View a photo album of the event here.