Former Cornell basketball player donates $25,000 to Ram athletics

MOUNT VERNON – A $25,000 gift from Jim Hughes ’63 will support athletic programs and will help refurbish the Richard and Norma Small Multi-Sport Center.

jim-hughesHughes has been a longtime supporter of Cornell, giving steadily for years. He said he had always planned to give back to Cornell in a big way.

“Cornell’s always had a special meaning to me for what it gave me and for my start on my life after school,” said Hughes. “I gave so that others can enjoy the same experience that I enjoyed.”

Hughes, a former basketball player under Paul Maaske, added that he felt it was important to give now, when the needs of the college were the greatest.

“We really cannot thank Jim enough for his generosity. He’s always been a strong supporter of Cornell and of the Rams,” said Director of Athletics John Cochrane, who added that Hughes’ gift is responsible for the recent aesthetic enhancements to the downstairs arena and to the Main Gym in the Sport Center.

Hughes, who grew up on a farm near Iowa City, retired recently from Equitable Life Insurance Society of the United States, where he spent his entire career after being recruited on Cornell’s campus.

Hughes’ gift is part of Cornell College’s comprehensive campaign Extraordinary Opportunities: The Campaign for Cornell College which will continue through December 2009. The campaign will enhance the Cornell experience by increasing the college’s endowment, upgrading its facilities, and enhancing the academic program.

For more information about the campaign or making a gift, visit or contact Peter Wilch, Vice President for Alumni and College Advancement at 319-895-4315 or