Physics Professor Hughes earns state's highest award for faculty


by Eric Gorton


Dr. Chris Hughes seated, facing the camera with his desk and book shelves behind him.

Dr. Chris Hughes said he was "floored" when he learned in December that he had been chosen a winner of the state's highest honor for faculty, the Outstanding Faculty Award presented by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia.

"It was an honor just to be nominated for the award knowing the others from JMU who were nominated. That's a distinguished crowd right there," said Hughes, a professor of physics and astronomy and director of the JMU Center for Materials Science.

Hughes is one of 13 recipients of the 2016 award who were selected from a pool of 92 applicants nominated by their institutions. The Outstanding Faulty Awards recognize superior accomplishments in teaching, research and public service.

Hughes joined the JMU faculty in 1997 and credited his colleagues and the teaching atmosphere at JMU for the success in his career. "The freedom to explore and to be innovative along with the support I’ve received here have been a key part of this," he said. "That includes a great deal of credit to both my current and former colleagues in physics who have always had more confidence in me than I could ever imagine being warranted."

A ceremony honoring the recipients, at which they will be addressed by Gov. Terry McAuliffe, will be held Feb. 16 at the Jefferson Hotel in Richmond. Each recipient will receive an engraved award and $5,000 underwritten by the Dominion Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Dominion Resources. The Outstanding Faculty Award program is administered by SCHEV and funded by a grant from the Dominion Foundation, which has fully supported the OFA program since 2005.

SCHEV is the Commonwealth’s coordinating and planning body for postsecondary education. The agency provides policy guidance and budget recommendations to the governor and General Assembly, and creates the statewide strategic plan, The Virginia Plan for Higher Education. SCHEV has administered the Outstanding Faculty Awards since the program’s creation by the legislature in 1986.

The Dominion Foundation is dedicated to improving the physical, social and economic well-being of the communities served by Dominion companies. Dominion and the Foundation support nonprofit causes that meet basic human needs, protect the environment, support education and promote community vitality. For more information about Dominion (NYSE: D), headquartered in Richmond and one of the nation’s largest producers and transporters of energy, visit

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Published: Monday, January 4, 2016

Last Updated: Wednesday, November 1, 2023

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