Former Bearcat Myron Hughes sees opportunity to
help community flourish
By Chuck Gibson
LOVELAND, OH (July 28, 2021) – You might recognize the new Chairman of the Community Advisory Board (CAB) for Hoxworth Blood Center from his playing days on the basketball court in a University of Cincinnati Bearcats uniform. The University of Cincinnati Hoxworth Blood Center announced the appointment of Myron Hughes as CAB Chairman on July 8.
It’s been a while – think mid-1980’s – since Myron Hughes was last seen wearing No. 44 running up and down the hardwood playing a game he loves. He has been back in Cincinnati for a while now, serving as Executive Director for U.C Alumni Association and is Managing Director for BlueRose Supply, Inc. Serving others and giving back is his primary focus as a person, professional, and leader in the community where he lives and works.
“I’m a quiet, shy person who enjoys life,” said Hughes, describing himself. “I’m a person who enjoys giving back to others to see our community flourish.”
His rise to Chairman of the Board didn’t happen overnight. Hughes served on the Hoxworth Community Advisory Board eight years, including two as Board Secretary and as Vice-Chair for a year and a half prior to his appointment as Chairman.
“The previous chair, she decided to retire and they asked me to step up to be Interim Chair,” Hughes explained. “During that time, I guess I was being interviewed and eventually was asked if I would consider staying on as Chair of the Board for the next year. I agreed to do that.”
With the announcement of his appointment earlier in July, Hughes will serve a one-year term as Chairman of the Hoxworth CAB. He indicated his willingness to stay on beyond that, but noted it is entirely up to the discretion of Hoxworth if they want him to stay. The previous chair served two years before she decided to retire. Two years is usually the length of time a chairperson serves in that role.
“It depends on how the rotation goes in terms of people’s time, energy and passion they have to stay on board and be as helpful as they would like to be,” Hughes said. “A basic term for a board position is three years. You can renew after that if you want to. It is volunteer.”
Hughes path to Hoxworth was an interesting journey. After he finished his collegiate years as a Bearcat Basketball standout in the 1980’s, Myron Hughes played professionally for a year in Germany. Since then, he spent time in a number of other cities across the United States. The Alabama native left and came back to his adopted-home of Cincinnati more than once over the years. In December of 2000, he moved to Memphis, then to Tampa and then back to Cincinnati. As the story goes, he tried to reconnect with his former primary care physician, but found he was teaching at U.C. no longer practicing and recommended another doctor. Then Hughes received another call from him.
“He called one day and said ‘Myron, I’m chair of the nominating committee for the Hoxworth Blood Center, would you mind serving on the board’,” said Hughes. “For you Doc, I’ll do anything. I got on the board through him calling and telling me what the position was all about.”
Hughes joining had the added benefit of adding some diversity to the Hoxworth Blood Center Board.
“Because of Hoxworth and people who donate blood, it is also used for people with sickle cell,” Hughes said. “Most people with sickle cell are African-American individuals. Therefore, how do we get more minorities to give blood? That was part of the purpose for me getting on the board then. I have a little bit of name recognition here in the community.”
A humble man, “quiet, shy” in his own words, Hughes understates his own recognition and popularity in the Cincinnati community from his days as a Bearcat. Despite his humility, he knows bringing that name recognition to the position is a benefit in reaching out to the community.
“I just always help try to get the word out and reach out to as many people as possible,” he said.
There’s another important piece for Myron Hughes. One of his cousins died from sickle cell. That personal connection brings more urgency and understanding to his efforts to do as much as possible. First is to find ways to increase minority blood donations. He also wants to educate people about donating blood and the process of making a donation.
“I think people are afraid of needles,” said Hughes. “It’s not as bad as you think it is. How do you convince people, share with them, besides a little stick, it is not that horrible to sit down and donate blood? I don’t mind, I’ve been poked and stuck a million times.”
Yes, Myron Hughes is a regular Hoxworth Blood Donor typically donating every 10 -12 weeks as much as he can. He also shared a fun story about when he goes in to donate. Mind you, Hughes was a “Big Man” who stood 6’-7” tall while playing forward for the Bearcats Basketball team. He may not be as fast as he was then, but he’s still just as big. He jokes with the people when he goes in to donate asking if he fell out, could they hold him up. He gets a look that says “Are you serious? Should we get more people over here?” Of course he’s only kidding.
“I try to put them more at ease than myself,” he explained, “just going in there having fun; just enjoying the fact of giving back, helping to save lives. That’s’ the purpose of doing this. I just get over there to help out.”
Helping out wherever he has been is the common theme running through the personal and professional life of Myron Hughes. He has served in economic development, helping communities flourish, including working with the Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce for seven years. He was out in the community volunteering during those years as well. He moved to St. Louis and worked for their Chamber of Commerce for three years before returning to work for the City of Cincinnati for a couple years. His next stop was Memphis, TN working with an organization similar to 3CDC.
“I worked for the Memphis Center Civic Commission, did that for three years,” said Hughes. “Then two other ladies and I started a real estate company. We were actually the first, quote unquote, minority-owned commercial real estate company in the State of Tennessee.”
After dissolving the partnership, Hughes was recruited to work for the Tampa, FL Chamber of Commerce from 2004-2008. He stayed there until February of 2008 when he came back to Cincinnati to work for the University of Cincinnati as Executive Director of the Alumni Association. He’s been to every major city in the U.S., but Cincinnati has been his home for 13- plus years from February 2008-2021 currently. Everywhere he’s been, his work was giving back to the community.
“I’ve been heavily involved in the community,” Hughes said. “Development was most of my background. It was all about recruiting companies here and what are the assets of that particular community? I tell young people today, if you move somewhere, make sure you get involved, once you get involved, you’ll learn the community, you’ll learn the people.”
Myron Hughes, self-proclaimed quiet, shy guy who likes to enjoy life and enjoys giving back to others through helping their community to flourish has found a way to listen, learn and now maybe even talk a little more in a leadership role as the new Chairman of the Board for the Hoxworth Blood Center Community Advisory Board. While serving on the board he has helped achieve some pretty good things for our community.
“I’m a member of the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity and we’ve picked up the pace getting more individuals from the Greek community to give back,” said Hughes, “bringing more emphasis to giving blood to our Greek community, especially Alpha Phi Alpha doing it around Martin Luther King Day.”
It is something Myron Hughes has helped drive in an effort to find ways to get more coverage for Hoxworth through him serving as Chairman on the Board. He wants to find ways to engage more minorities in contributing.
“Again, how do we get more minorities to donate blood because of the need,” Hughes asked. “When you’re giving blood, it’s not the fact you’re giving away a part of yourself, unfortunately there’s lots of car accidents, and people need blood. My aunt, who just died of cancer, went through a situation where every other week she needed a blood transfusion. We don’t tie these things together. There is a need for this. How do we make sure we are out there doing more. That’s one reason I stepped up in this position to hopefully use my name to get the message out to more and more people.”
As Hughes steps into the position, he’s proud of how he’s been able to help get the word out already. He hopes to reach out even more while serving as Chairman for Hoxworth. Quiet and shy or not, he’s going to be out in the community making a difference and hoping you’ll join him.
“I just like being around people,” he said. “I just like to have fun. That’s what it’s about.”
CLICK HERE for more about Hoxworth Blood Centers, or to make an appointment to donate. Tell them Myron Hughes sent you.