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Former Governor is Commencement Speaker

Posted on Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Former Gov. Harry Hughes 

WYE MILLS – Former Gov. Harry Hughes will speak at Chesapeake College’s 2005 Commencement on Wednesday, May 25 at 6 p.m. in the Rufus M. and Loraine Hall Todd Performing Arts Center. The college is celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2005, and 237 students are scheduled to graduate this year.

This is the first time Chesapeake will hold a graduation ceremony in the Performing Arts Center, which was expanded in November.

It is fitting that Hughes is the commencement speaker during Chesapeake’s 40th anniversary year. While Hughes is best known for being the 57th governor of Maryland, the Chesapeake College community and many residents may be most indebted to him for his role in the creation of the college. While a state senator representing Caroline County, Hughes brought together a group of individuals who helped develop legislation that would create the first regional community college in Maryland. Hughes, who served as chair of the Senate Finance Committee, sponsored the legislation that created the funding mechanism for the Wye Mills campus. An attorney, he also advised the college’s first board, which had to deal with new and complicated legal issues of a regional community college.

Hughes started his long record of public service as a 17-year-old Navy enlistee during World War II, and continues to this day through his role as Chairman of both the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy and the Board of Visitors for the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Health. In between, he served 16 years in the Maryland General Assembly, including a dozen in the State Senate where he was both Chairman of the Finance Committee and Majority Leader. He was also Maryland’s first Secretary of Transportation, twice served as Chair of the Maryland Democratic Party, and was twice elected Governor of Maryland, on each occasion winning more votes than any previous candidate for that office.

As governor, Hughes compiled a record of progress in social reform, environmental protection, and fiscal responsibility. His administration launched an ambitious program to save the Chesapeake Bay, and the State became a national leader in efforts against drunk driving, for the protection of children and youth, and in behalf of decent and adequate housing for all citizens. He sponsored what was then the largest increase in state aid for public education, and supported funds for construction of new bridges to relieve bottlenecks on the Eastern Shore.

A graduate of both the University of Maryland and the George Washington University Law School, Hughes has an appreciation for the importance of education. He made a lasting impact on the Upper Shore with his energetic leadership in support of Chesapeake College’s creation forty years ago.


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