Atlanta-area couple donates $500,000 to Kennesaw State University

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Thomas and Barbara Hughes fund new career services program for business students

Photo: (seated) Thomas Hughes; (back row, left to right) Kathy Schwaig, dean of the Michael J. Coles College of Business; Daniel Papp, president of Kennesaw State; Barbara Hughes; and Michael Harders, VP of University Advancement and Development

KENNESAW, Ga.  (Dec. 12, 2013) — Kennesaw State University announced today that Thomas W. Hughes, an Atlanta businessman and philanthropist, and his wife, Barbara, have donated $500,000 to support a new program for students in the Michael J. Coles College of Business.

The gift will fund the College’s newly created Hughes Leadership and Career Program, which will provide a unique blended advisement program combining academic and career guidance for business students.

“Tom and Barbara are longtime friends of Kennesaw State University and valued members of our community,” said Daniel S. Papp, president of Kennesaw State. “Their generosity will have a profound impact on our students and will provide a solid foundation for guiding students toward the right career path.”

Hughes is founder and past president/CEO of National Electronic Attachment, Inc., which he began in 1998, and Medical Electronic Attachment, Inc., which he started in 2007. A Coles College MBA graduate, Hughes is a member of the KSU Board of Trustees and serves on the Coles College of Business Advisory Board, where he was selected Board Member of the Year in 2010 and 2013. In 2011, he was named a Coles College executive-in-residence.

“Barbara and I are very sensitive to the current job market, and we want to give KSU business school graduates every advantage to be successful in finding employment,” said Thomas Hughes. “Serving on the Advisory Board of Coles College gave me the opportunity to help the College and Dean (Kathy) Schwaig roll out this important program to students.”

The Hughes Leadership and Career Program will address the challenges undergraduate students face when making career choices and obtaining jobs after graduation. Traditionally, universities offer academic advising during the first two years and then career advising in the later years, but not a blended option. This program will help to combine these often-separated advising options seamlessly throughout a student’s entire college career.

“Tom is not only a valued supporter of the Coles College, he has become a friend and dedicated partner,” said Kathy Schwaig, dean of the Coles College. “Through his and Barbara’s generous gift, this program will enable us to provide our students with the help they need to develop and build strong professional skills that will distinguish them in the marketplace.”

During the fall 2013 semester, Hughes taught “The Business of Philanthropy,” a graduate-level class designed to help business leaders and entrepreneurs learn how to effectively manage philanthropic gifts. As part of the 15-week course, Hughes made a $1,000 donation in each student’s name to their selected charities.

In addition to his involvement in Kennesaw State, he and Barbara support the Alliance for Children Everywhere, Inc., an organization that provides aid to crisis nurseries and schools for orphaned children in Zambia, Africa.

Hughes received his undergraduate degree from Florida State University with dual degrees in marketing and finance.

The Michael J. Coles College of Business is the second-largest business school in Georgia, offering 12 undergraduate and graduate degree programs, including a Doctor of Business Administration (DBA), and is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). The College’s part-time MBA program was ranked first in the state among public institutions and 22nd in the nation by Bloomberg Businessweek in its 2013 business school rankings and among the country’s top 50 programs by U.S. News & World Report in its annual “Best Graduate Schools 2014.” 

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