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Donald R. Hughes ’85

Distinguished Alumni Award for Professional Achievement

Blanchardville native Don Hughes credits his successful career in accounting and finance to his time at UW-Whitewater — what he describes as “a great education at an affordable price that prepares you for the world” — and mentorship from key faculty. A tax accounting professor who “took to” Hughes was instrumental in pointing the first- generation college graduate toward his first job, at Arthur Andersen, and to obtaining his CPA certificate. A succession of finance positions led to his current role as vice president and CFO of Colony Brands, Inc.

After Arthur Andersen, he joined Dodgeville-based Lands’ End in 1987 as a senior staff accountant. He rose to be senior vice president and CFO before leaving in 2004 to co- found Fair Indigo, a Madison-based fair trade apparel and accessories company. With a former Lands’ End colleague Hughes also owns 16 Two Men and a Truck franchises, which encompass more than 500 employees and 110 moving trucks over numerous states, and two BrightStar Care in-home health care franchises in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Since 2009 Hughes has worked at Colony Brands, Inc., a Monroe-based catalog company with over $1 billion in annual revenue and approximately 6,000 employees. Included under the Colony Brands umbrella are companies such as Swiss Colony, Montgomery Ward, and the Tender Filet. In his current role he has responsibility for management of the finance, information technology, quality assurance, security and maintenance departments.

Through the years, Hughes has maintained strong ties to campus: he is a former chairman of the UW-Whitewater Foundation Board, and served as the commencement speaker for the spring 2014 graduation ceremony.

Hughes lives with his wife, Joan, just outside Monroe. They have whom are UW-Whitewater alumni, and two granddaughters.

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