Robert Charles Hughes, a former housing and development director at the University, died May 9 in Florida after a brief illness. He was 69.
Hughes reveled in his role as innkeeper, welcoming guests from many countries to Thistledowne at Seul Choix, on Lake Michigan near Gulliver in the Upper Peninsula. His love of helping others was an integral part of his career at U-M, where he shepherded projects, mentored students and advised the Men's Glee Club.
Born in Flint, Hughes graduated from U-M in 1958 with a Bachelor of Arts in psychology. He earned a master's degree in education in 1960. After a brief tenure as a guidance counselor, he joined the Housing Division in 1964 as South Quad director. In 1978 he was named director of housing, a position he held until 1993, when he was named executive director of development for Student Affairs. He retired three years later after seeing two major U-M projects to completion—the Northwood V housing complex and the Family Housing Community Center.
As faculty adviser to the Men's Glee Club in the 1990s, Hughes helped members with everything from academics to financial aid, and accompanied the club on tours to Russia and South America. He also formed lasting friendships with many of the
U-M football and basketball players he mentored.
Hughes served as secretary of the Ann Arbor Rotary Club for many years and was accorded the distinction of Paul Harris Fellow of Rotary International. He loved to travel and visited more than 40 countries.
Hughes is survived by his parents, Halley and Mary Louise Hughes; a son, Robert Jr.; a daughter, Jeannette Vrieland, and her husband, Brian; two brothers and their wives, Richard and Susanne, and James and Peg; two grandchildren, Jessalyn and Alicia Vrieland; several nieces, nephews and other relatives and many friends, as well as former wife, Jane.
The University of Michigan Record Online
Submitted by the Hughes family