The Grays Harbor College recently honored the philanthropy of Pat and Mary Ellen Hughes by naming the Automotive/Welding Technology Building in the Hughes’ honor.

The college tells KXRO that the newly named Hughes Automotive/Welding Technology Building houses a number of industrial technology courses offered at GHC, including Associate in Technology degrees, certificates in various welding and automotive specialties, and a number of industrial technology courses.

The Hughes established a tool scholarship in 2004 to help Grays Harbor College Industrial Technology and Allied Health students purchase tools required for their field of study.

“The Hughes believe students learning valuable job skills need to start with quality tools that can also be used later when they enter the workforce,” said Lisa J. Smith, Executive Director of the Grays Harbor College Foundation. Smith shared that the Hughes also support the World Class Scholars program and other initiatives through the Grays Harbor College Foundation, in addition to the tool scholarship.

During the dedication ceremony, Mr. Hughes, a 1953 alumnus of Grays Harbor College, addressed the crowd of approximately 100 students, employees, and community members and reflected on the couple’s relationship with the College over the years.

Photo from GHC

 The building was named in honor of the Hughes to recognize their support of the College.

“I have to give Mary Ellen credit for the tools scholarship”. said Mr. Hughes. He explained how they had visited an industrial technology class years ago and noticed a student who was unable to participate with her classmates. 

The student told the Hughes that she could not afford tools, so she had to wait until her classmate finished using his tools to begin her work.

“There was a young woman standing there with nothing to do,” he remembered. “As we were heading home, Mary Ellen said, “We should do something about that.” And well, we have. Thank you, Mary Ellen,”, said Mr. Hughes.

After the heartfelt speeches, the Hughes had the opportunity to speak with scholarship recipients, as well as GHC faculty and staff, who benefit from the couple’s generosity.

“As Grays Harbor College and the Foundation look to the future, the Hughes Building will stand as a testament to the power of philanthropy and its role in fostering a vibrant community. We are deeply grateful for the Hughes” enduring commitment to the success and well-being of our students and our community,” said Smith.


Dr. Ed Brewster, Grays Harbor College President, Lisa J. Smith, Grays Harbor College Foundation Executive Director, Pat Hughes, and Mary Ellen Hughes pose for a photo before the dedication ceremony of the newly named Pat and Mary Ellen Hughes Automotive/Welding Technology Building. Photo from GHC