In Memoriam: William Hughes

October 3, 2023

(Editor's Update: A celebration of life is scheduled for 1 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 11, at the McCoy Equestrian Center. 14280 Peyton Drive. Chino HillsCalif.)


William Hughes, an agribusiness professor emeritus who was also director of the W.K. Kellogg Arabian Horse Center for a dozen years, died Sept. 24.

He was 80.

Hughes suffered from cancer and had spent the past several months in the hospital and in rehabilitation, according to The Chino Hills Champion newspaper.

A longtime horse show judge and owner, breeder, and trainer of Arabian horses, Hughes was initially hired by Cal Poly Pomona in 1967 as a full-time instructor in the agricultural business management department.

In 1998, Hughes was hired as the Arabian Horse Center’s director.

During his 12-year tenure, the center received nearly $174,000 from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to build new facilities.

The foundation also donated $3 million to expand the W.K. Kellogg Arabian Horse Library on campus.

He was named director of equine sciences in July 2002, responsible for the management not only of the Arabian Horse Center, but the Equine Research Center. 

Hughes retired from Cal Poly Pomona in 2010.

In addition to his work on campus, Hughes was also very involved in the local community and the Arabian horse industry.

He was a longtime advocate for the city’s equestrian heritage, according to The Champion newspaper. The city of Chino Hills recognized him for his service with the McCoy Equestrian Committee and the Chino Hills Foundation.

In addition, Hughes served as the last president of the International Arabian Horse Association. When that organization merged with the Arabian Horse Registry to become the Arabian Horse Association in 2003-04, Hughes was elected the new organization’s first president.

He also served as vice president of the National Affiliate Working group, a member of the U.S. Equestrian Federation, which is the national governing body for equestrian sports.

He is survived by his wife of 54 years, Mary Ann; sons Kevin and Brian; two grandchildren and numerous relatives, according to The Champion.

He will be interred at Holy Cross Cemetery in Pomona with his late son, Christopher, who died at 11 in 1983, the newspaper reported. A celebration of life is expected in November.