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K-State Today

August 31, 2023

Reminder: Retirement reception and ceremony for Mary Jo McHugh

Submitted by Gabrielle Marie Dupree Fogle

Join the aerospace studies and military science departments in celebrating Mary Jo McHugh's service to Kansas State University and the Army and Air Force ROTC cadre, cadets and alumni at a retirement reception from 3-5 p.m. today, Aug. 31, in the K-State Student Union's Main Ballroom.
Light refreshments will be served. At the close of the reception there will be a ceremony in her honor, to begin at 5 p.m.
McHugh has dedicated 31 years of professional service to K-State. In 1977, she worked as an animal caretaker in the bull barns for the animal sciences and industry department. She returned to the department in October 1999. In 2001, she moved to Central Mail Services, and in 2007, she applied for a job with the aerospace studies department. She was interviewed and hired by Lt. Col. Brad Hebing, Air Force ROTC commander.
"Mary Jo was the best hire I have ever made," Hebing said. "Her impact on the lives and careers of countless officer candidates is immeasurable. Within the first 5 minutes, I knew she was right for the job. Military come and go, but the value of having a calm, composed professional as the face of the detachment was what I wanted for the cadets. She was just a genuine, KSU-purple-blooded, cool individual who has proven me right for 15 years — she has had an incredible impact on our detachment and our nation's defense."
In 2019, her position was upgraded, and she assumed administrative responsibility for the military science department which more than doubled McHugh's reach and impact on cadets at K-State.
For 15 years, McHugh has been the link between K-State and the ROTC programs. It is estimated that McHugh has supported more than 700 K-State students through her role within the aerospace studies and military science departments. Many of those students are now serving in the United States Army and Air Force. She has been a team player, supporting approximately 50 Army and Air Force cadre members who facilitate the K-State ROTC program as associate faculty and staff members.