Former U.S. Rep. William Hughes, who represented the 2nd Congressional district including much of coastal South Jersey from 1975 – 1995, passed away at the age of 87 on Oct. 30.
Hughes served for 20 years in Congress and retired in 1995 only to go on to be appointed as President Bill Clinton’s ambassador to Panama prior to America’s turnover of the Panama Canal.
Stockton University honored Hughes by naming the William J. Hughes Center for Public Policy after him, which serves as a catalyst for research on public policy and economic issues facing southern New Jersey. The center provides a forum for public discussion of policy issues to engage citizens and policy-makers, frame policy issues in a manner that encourages broader civic engagement, and strengthens the voice of southern New Jersey in public debate.
Stockton President Harvey Kesselman issued a statement after word of Hughes’ passing: “Bill Hughes was the epitome of what a public servant ought to be. He exuded a sense of civility with respect to everything he did in life, and he was unwaveringly committed to exhibiting that noble conduct to those with whom he came in contact. We are extremely grateful for his having chosen Stockton to house his memorabilia, and we are a far, far better place as a result of his Center being an integral part of what we hold dear as a University. He will be sorely missed.”
Gov. Phil Murphy also issued a statement: “Congressman Bill Hughes represented his South Jersey district for 20 years, but he was nothing less than a New Jersey icon. He was a public school product and a Rutgers graduate two times over. As a prosecutor in Cape May, he fought to keep residents safe. As a respected Congressman, he fought to protect the Jersey Shore from polluters and the Pinelands from development. As U.S. Ambassador to Panama under President Clinton, he served our nation on the world stage. Tammy and I are saddened to learn of his passing, and send our condolences to his children and their families, and to all who knew him and called him a friend.”