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$6.5 million estate gift brings UST closer to $100 million endowment

The University of St. Thomas has received a $6.5 million contribution from the estate of James M. Hughes, in support of Faith in Our Future: The Campaign for the University of St. Thomas. The gift, the largest single realized bequest in university history, establishes the James M. Hughes Endowed Scholarship Fund.

Hughes’s gift, to be used for awarding scholarships to undergraduate and graduate students in need, puts the university closer to reaching its goal of attaining a $100 million endowment.

Hughes, a lifelong resident of West University and retired architectural engineer, passed away on April 1, 2016, at the age of 89. Hughes never married and had no children, and he wanted his legacy to support his local community and Catholic causes. In addition to his gift to the University of St. Thomas, Hughes gifted the West University community with a parcel of land to be used for a quiet park. The Society of St. Vincent de Paul, where Hughes spent much time volunteering, also received generous contributions.

“Mr. Hughes was clearly a man who not only ‘talked the talk’ about providing for charitable organizations with his substantial wealth, but also ‘walked the walk’ when it came to volunteer work,” said W. Kevin Alter, JD, Partner at Hebnick & Alter, P.C. Attorneys at Law and witness to Mr. Hughes’s will. “He wanted the bulk of his estate to benefit the Catholic charities and organizations that were so meaningful to him, and to which he devoted much of his time in retirement.”

The $6.5 million gift to Faith in Our Future will provide essential scholarship support for many students who are challenged to afford a high quality, private-university education. Many UST students are the first in their families to attend college, and the vast majority of students rely on scholarships or financial aid to achieve their education goals. Gifts in support of scholarships, like this one from Hughes, help expand available scholarships to deserving students.