KOKOMO, Ind. – John Hughey’s distinguished career and service to Indiana University Kokomo reached full circle as he led the graduating class of 2019 during Commencement exercises, which marked his retirement after 18 years.
The first chairperson of the Division of Allied Health Sciences, Hughey was uncharacteristically solemn, and walked with dignity down the aisle with the university mace gripped firmly in front of him as the grand marshal.
“It’s such an honor,” he said, who retires in August. “I’ve been here through many of the Commencement ceremonies, and as I look back on the honored faculty who have served as grand marshal, it’s a privilege to be thought of in the same mindset of those who have come before me.”
He was especially gratified to be honored during Commencement, because of the magnitude of the occasion.
“It’s the best day of the year,” he said. “Of all the events we put on, Commencement is by far the most important and certainly significant to our students who are graduating, and their families.”
His connections with the campus extend back even further than his career — he earned his associate degree in radiologic sciences in 1976, and returned to complete a bachelor’s degree in technical studies.
After a career that includes serving as a radiologic technologist, teaching in both a hospital-based and community college-based radiologic science program, and creating a picture archive communication system for an Indianapolis hospital, he returned to IU Kokomo in a leadership role.
Hughey noted that while much more of the work is done with computers than it was when he began his career, he and the faculty remind them that there is more to the profession than learning the technology.
“The heart of our job is understanding we’re responsible for people’s lives, and you don’t just push a button,” he said. “You have to look at what’s going on, set parameters according to your patient’s pathology and the doctor’s diagnosis, and produce the highest-quality imagine possible.”
During his tenure, Allied Health Sciences has grown to include majors in health science, with concentrations in exercise and sport science, health education and promotion, and nutritional science. He also led development of degrees in sport and recreation management and the Bachelor of Applied Science degree.
“It’s always exciting to see growth in educational opportunities,” the Tipton resident said. “The students are having fulfilling careers. This year, we have the first three graduates of our sport and recreation management program, which is really exciting. We’ve had tremendous acceptance of our medical imaging technology program, which provides the community with advanced certified health professionals in radiology.”
One of the things he’s most enjoyed is making onsite visits to student clinical sites, not only to see how the current students are growing in their skills, but also to see program graduates at work.
“We serve our region well with our graduates, who go back to the communities they came from and serve the health care needs of the people living there,” he said. “You can see how they have developed as leaders in their communities, and in the health care industry. It’s comforting to know we’ve educated these types of professionals who are out there helping people, and know that one day they will take care of me.”
He’s also proud of the faculty, and their focus on providing first-rate education.
After retiring in August, Hughey plans to continue teaching as an adjunct faculty member.
“I like to be connected to the students. They keep me young, and it keeps me mentally alert,” he said. “I look forward to this next chapter.”
Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.