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In This Issue

       

For Jane McHugh, endowing a scholarship for rural students is a fitting tribute to her father

Gerald Pike grew up on a farm and appreciated country life

This photo of Jane McHugh and her father, Gerald Pike, was taken in 2007 on the family’s farm in Butler County.
This photo of Jane McHugh and her father, Gerald Pike, was taken in 2007 on the family’s farm in Butler County.

The beauty and serenity of the countryside was always a lure for Gerald Pike. He grew up on a farm and, after living most of his adult life in Wichita, bought a country place in Butler County where he could grow trees and spend time away from the city.

“He was an example of ‘You can take the boy out of the farm, but you can’t take the farm out of the boy,’’’ Jane McHugh, Pike’s daughter, says with a laugh.

That’s why, when McHugh decided to endow a scholarship at Wichita State in her father’s honor, she designated that recipients be students from rural areas of Kansas.

“He would love that students similar to him — coming from a small farming community — have greater opportunities because of a college education,” she says. “This just fits who he was.”

This isn’t the first scholarship at Wichita State that McHugh ’80 has supported. She has contributed generously to a College of Education scholarship that her father established in 2002 to honor his aunt, Adra Jones, who graduated from the University of Wichita in 1949.

“She was a classroom teacher,” says McHugh, a certified public accountant who is semi-retired. “It bothered me that when my generation is gone, no one would remember her. I thought that would be a shame, because she was such a dedicated teacher. That scholarship was really meaningful to my dad.”

McHugh is a longtime supporter of Wichita State. In addition to the contributions she makes to the Adra C. Jones Endowed Scholarship, McHugh has supported the Mirό conservation project, the Gordon Parks photo acquisition effort and the Rhatigan Student Center (RSC) renovation. Her gift to the RSC provided a naming opportunity, which she used to name a meeting room in honor of her parents.

Jane McHugh and one of her favorite campus sculptures, “Millipede,” which she and her knitting friends yarn-bombed in 2012 and 2014.
Jane McHugh and one of her favorite campus sculptures, “Millipede,” which she and her knitting friends yarn-bombed in 2012 and 2014.

McHugh’s creation of the Gerald W. Pike Rural Scholarship illustrates her deep commitment to WSU, says Jessica Treadwell, WSU Foundation’s development director for the College of Education.

“Jane is a true Shocker and gives generously of her time and talents to many departments on campus,” Treadwell says. “It is a true pleasure to work with someone so generous and watch them give of themselves to change the lives of others.”

McHugh’s loyalty to Wichita State developed after she graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration in accountancy.

“Going to WSU came at a very important time in my life when I was a single mom, working and going to school, and trying to establish a new life for myself,” McHugh says. “I’ve always been very grateful to the university for being there and giving me a career that I was good at and that was very fulfilling.”

For McHugh, supporting Wichita State is all about serving its students. On their behalf, she has shared her counsel as a member of the College of Education Advisory Board and the Ulrich Museum Advisory Board. With their interests in mind, she gives her professional expertise to the WSU Foundation’s Planned Giving Council. She also has protected and promoted the university and its students by serving two terms on the WSU Board of Trustees.

McHugh is also well known for making another type of contribution to the campus: She and members of her knitting group drew attention in 2012 for covering “Millipede,” the 24-foot-long outdoor sculpture, with colorful yarn. That “yarn-bombing” prompted the Ulrich Museum of Art to recruit other knitters to cover most of the other outdoor sculptures in yarn, too, for a colorful and unusual exhibit. McHugh and her fellow knitters covered “Millipede” in yarn a second time last spring.

Looking to the future, McHugh hopes someday to endow a scholarship in the College of Fine Arts, this time in honor of her mother, Mona Pike.