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The black Fantastic text with brown background

Welcome to the 2023 version of Western Carolina University’s “The Black Fantastic.” Last year, the University Communications and Marketing team created “The Black Fantastic” to highlight excellence among a few of WCU’s Black faculty and staff members. The project went on to win three platinum awards from the Hermes Creative Awards, an international competition that is one of the oldest and largest creative competitions in the world. During Black History Month, we continue that artistic and creative look at some of the people responsible for shaping and mentoring the great minds of the future.  

Jeff Hughes Director of the Department of Campus Activities

Jeff Hughes

Life in threes. That’s how Jeff Hughes, director of the Department of Campus Activities, patterned his decades-long career at Western Carolina University. 

Holding a master’s in public administration and a bachelor’s in sociology from Georgia Southern University, the native of Lake Hartwell, Georgia, set out with ambitions of becoming a city planner.  

In search of his first opportunity towards that leadership role, Hughes was recruited as area coordinator for Leatherwood and Helder residence halls in 1993 by the eager, witty and charismatic Keith Corzine during a conference in Charlotte. Having had a great experience as a residential adviser at GSU, and his wife Daphne’s desire to further her degree in education, they decided Cullowhee would be a great fit for the next step in their journey.  

Hover Jeff Hughes
Hover Effect Jeff Hughes

Keeping in the spirit of threes, Hughes was promoted to assistant director of residential living in ‘96, associate director in ’99, associate director of Hinds University Center operations in 2002 and eventually director of the UC, a position he still holds after 17 years. 

“Every time I checked in with my wife during each opportunity, we knew WCU was where we wanted to be,” Hughes said.   

Eager to help everyone find “the road to happy,” Corzine not only became a professional support for Hughes, but a beloved friend and colleague over the past 30 years.  

“Twin sons from different mothers,” Corzine said. “We have very different styles and backgrounds, but our core values were always the foundation of our relationship with each other and our families. We have a strong work ethic and deliver on our promises while working for the greater good.”  

Not sure what the future holds, Hughes embraces and continues to meet the challenges of the ever-changing landscape of higher education. He still enjoys his current role at WCU, giving high value and respect to his staff and students as they develop in their respective roles.  

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