Remembering Former University Librarian and Trailblazer Dr. Sue Margaret Hughes

March 29, 2022
Sue Margaret Hughes

Baylor is known for its beautiful campus, rigorous academic programs, and Christian mission, but one aspect that sets it apart is the people. We all remember individuals who worked beyond their responsibilities, exhibited extraordinary talent and passionately served others. Their impact lasts. Dr. Sue Margaret Hughes is one of those people.

A true Wacoan, Hughes grew up, worked and retired in her hometown of Waco. In 1938, Hughes graduated from Waco High School and began an arduous academic journey that would be marked by tremendous achievement. Before pursuing library science, she studied bookkeeping and worked in the accounting department of a manufacturing firm. After gaining valuable experience, Hughes left for the University of Texas at Austin and, in 1949, graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor's degree in business administration.

Hughes earned every opportunity she received. Growing up in a family with seven children, there was never money to fund education beyond high school. For Hughes, business was practical but not preferred. With valuable experience and a degree in hand, Hughes pursued a field more in line with her interests. She embarked on a new adventure that intersected her previous experience in business, love for reading and ultimate passion for learning—library science.

Hughes went on to receive both her master's degree in library science and eventually her doctorate from Texas Woman's University. She began her Baylor journey working in public services at Carroll Library. She would ultimately serve the university for more than three decades. After Moody Memorial Library opened, Hughes moved to technical services and rose through the ranks, ultimately becoming Baylor University’s first female University Librarian in 1989.

Kathy Hillman, director of Baptist collections and library advancement, worked with Hughes for nearly 15 years. "I will personally miss Sue Margaret Hughes' wisdom and support," Hillman said. "She always gave her best and asked the best from all who worked with her and for her."

Following her mandatory retirement in 1990 at age 70, Hughes remained connected to the people of Waco through many diverse community organizations. She was a member of Austin Avenue United Methodist Church, the Friendship Sunday School class, the American Association for University Women, Altrusa, the Baylor Libraries Board of Advisors and others. Family was also incredibly important to her, and she cherished time with her many nieces and nephews.

"Her leadership in local educational and history organizations, as well as the Sue Margaret Hughes Library Internship Endowment, reflect her devotion to encouraging and supporting students, particularly those from the Waco area," Hillman said.

Hughes' skills, talents and abilities were exceptional, but her kindness was what truly set her apart. Baylor University is honored to have had such a bright and faithful individual lead the libraries. She was a shining light to all who knew her and worked alongside her and leaves behind an enormous legacy of dedication and service.

Moody Memorial Library, the broader Baylor community and the city of Waco will be forever impacted by the life of Dr. Sue Margaret Hughes. Her memorial service will be held at Wilkerson-Hatch-Bailey Chapel in Waco, on Saturday, April 2, at 11:00 a.m.