Institutes & Centers Hughes Center for Neuroscience and Leadership

Thanks to a major gift, Westmont has established the Linda and Bill Hughes Center for Neuroscience and Leadership as part of the college’s new Institute for Global Learning and Leadership.

“We’re deeply grateful to Bill and Linda Hughes for helping us develop a center that will apply cutting-edge discoveries in neuroscience to leadership development,” says Westmont President Gayle D. Beebe. “They’ve become wonderful and supportive friends, and we appreciate their strong commitment to Christian education and devotion to their family.”

The Hughes became connected with Westmont when their oldest granddaughter enrolled and their daughter Roxanne Packham joined the college’s Parents Council. For the past several years, Roxanne has served as council president, representing parents as a member of the college’s board of trustees. Hannah Packham, a senior psychology major, has pursued an interest in neuroscience and interned with a neurosurgeon. A pole-vaulter for the track and field team, she will graduate in May. Hannah’s brother, Justin, also chose Westmont and is finishing his first year.

“Seeing our grandchildren happy makes us happy,” Linda says “Westmont has been a great fit for Hannah and Justin, and they are receiving a great education.”

“We appreciate Westmont’s Christian values and ethics,” Bill says. “It’s so important to raise up leaders in the United States who recognize their moral responsibility to society. Westmont sets that example by giving students the big picture and educating the whole person.”

Bill attended USC and also earned a law degree there, although he never practiced law. He did legal work for a supermarket chain after graduating from law school, and his experience with this business led him into shopping center development. He established Hughes Investments in 1977 to develop and manage commercial real estate, and the company has built more than two dozen centers in California, the Pacific Northwest, Utah and Idaho. The business is based in Newport Beach, Calif., where Bill and Linda live.

Linda went to Woodbury College and raised the couple’s two daughters. Her volunteer work includes promoting adoption and educating and training parents who adopt children. She also supports the Newport Harbor Art Museum. Her two daughters share her love of decorating and both work as ASID interior designers. The family-oriented Hughes often vacation with their daughters, sons-in-law and four grandchildren.

The couple decided to support the neuroscience center when they heard President Beebe share his vision and passion for this project. Beebe believes that helping leaders develop emotional intelligence and qualities such as empathy and human rapport will enhance their ability to manage emotionally fraught or politically delicate situations in their organizations. “President Beebe inspires us,” Bill says. “He’s an impressive person and an incredible leader. We’re blessed to be able to support Westmont and be a part of this wonderful community.”