Hughes Lecture Series

The Hughes Lecture Series began in 1978 and is named after Dr. Raymond Hughes. A beloved professor of English at West Liberty for nearly four decades, his generous endowment gift established a fund for the series. Thanks to this fund, the series has brought a wide range of authors and speakers to WLU, including: 


  • Eugene McCarthy, U. S. Senator and presidential candidate in 1968
  • Ted Kooser, U.S. Poet Laureate
  • Homer Hickam, West Virginia writer and NASA scientist
  • Jeannette Walls, author of The Glass Castle
  • Artboard 7
    Professor Raymond Hughes
  • Hughes Lecture Series
    David Sheff © Photo by Bart Nagel

The 2019 Hughes Lecture Series will take place Thursday, March 28, 2019 at 7:30 p.m. in College Hall and feature bestselling author David SheffThe lecture is free and open to the public. 


The West Liberty University Foundation will be hosting  a special screening of the film Beautiful Boy on Sunday, March 24 at 3:00 p.m. at the Towngate Theater in Wheeling. Tickets $5.00, free for WLU staff and students.


David Sheff:

David Sheff is the author of Beautiful Boy: A Father’s Journey Through His Son’s Addiction, a number-one New York Times bestseller. The book was based on his article, “My Addicted Son,” which appeared in the New York Times Magazine and won a special award from the American Psychological Association for “outstanding contribution to the understanding of addiction.” In 2009, David was named to the Time 100, Time Magazine’s list of the World’s Most Influential People. A feature film adaptation of “Beautiful Boy,” produced by Amazon Studios and Plan B Entertainment and starring Steve Carell and Timothee Chalamet, was released in the U.S. in October 2018 and internationally in February 2019. He graduated from the University of California, Berkeley and lives with his family in Northern California.


Professor Raymond Hughes:

Dr. Raymond Grove Hughes was born on May 29, 1900 in southwestern Pennsylvania. As a child, Hughes contracted polio which left him unable to walk, but he never let his physical challenges prevent him from pursuing a fulfilling life. Professor Hughes’s teaching career at West Liberty spanned from 1931 until his retirement in 1970. At West Liberty, Dr. Hughes advised several fraternities, performed with the Hilltop Players, helped students who were struggling to pay tuition, and brought students along on his many travels.

Past Hughes Lecture Series Speakers