The McHugh Family
Laura McHugh, assistant director of honors, has been working at Howard Community College (HCC) for over twenty-five years. She joined the college in search of a career where she could make a difference and feel good about the work she does. Over her tenure at HCC she explains, “I have seen the incredible potential of our students, and I have also seen the tremendous need for financial support.”
It is for that reason that the McHugh family decided to honor her late mother-in-law, Clare McHugh, by naming the Honors Commons, a study and collaborative learning space in the Academic Commons building, for her. The Clare E. McHugh Honors Commons is a space for students to gather for small group study, projects, peer-to-peer networking, and learning.
“She was a lover of learning and a great role model,” McHugh recollects. “She loved community, loved to be at HCC, took continuing education classes, visited the art galleries and attended the international film festival.”
After graduating high school, Clare McHugh was offered a scholarship to attend college. She instead chose to get married and start a family. “Not earning a degree was her one regret in life,” says McHugh.
“Clare encouraged all her children and grandchildren to go to college, and was so proud of their achievements,” says McHugh, whose sons both attended HCC along with two of her nieces and her daughter-in-law. The named space funds scholarships for students, especially honors students, who need assistance overcoming financial barriers to college. “I often hear the stories of students who are barely scraping by. They are gifted, motivated, and grateful, but need the financial support to complete their education. Clare would be so happy to contribute to the education of these students.”
In describing her own philosophy towards giving, McHugh says, “It’s not about me. We’re called to help each other. Our resources were meant to be shared.” She describes education as the biggest game changer in helping people achieve their dreams. And, she encourages others to give to community colleges as way to support their entire community.
“Community colleges were created to be accessible to the entire community, from high school students to retirees and career changers. They serve the community by being responsive to the changing needs of the workforce and creating programs that provide job training for emerging careers that fill needs of our local employers.”