Ella & Thomas McHugh Memorial Endowment
The McHugh Legacy
This story originally appeared in the Fall 2009 edition of Panther Tracks Magazine
The McHugh legacy at Seattle Prep spans over four generations. It all began with a phone call on February 21, 1919 by Thomas C. McHugh to Father John McHugh (no relation) regarding his intent to make a charitable donation. T.C. McHugh was a successful entrepreneur and devout Catholic who had made ‘a promise to God” to give $50,000 to charity after selling his interest in the Deep Sea Cannery Company. Under the counsel of Father John McHugh, he decided to help the then struggling Jesuit Seattle College. As luck would have it, it came to T.C. McHugh’s attention that Adelphia College, a Swedish Baptist property, had recently been foreclosed. This was the opportunity T.C. McHugh needed. He began negotiating with the banks to purchase the property. After consulting with his wife, Ella, selling his war bonds and other liquid assets, T.C. offered $65,000 in cash and short-term pledges to purchase the property. The deal was completed and on December 7, 1919 Bishop O’Dea presided over the dedication of Seattle College’s new campus.
Over the years, the McHugh family has continued to support the mission of Seattle Prep. A family named endowment, the T.C. and Ella McHugh Endowment, was set up in 1992 by Ignatius (Nace) McHugh ’39, in honor of his parents to provide tuition assistance to those most in need. “Nace saw the value in starting an endowment that would live on for future generations” said his younger brother, Charles McHugh ’42. Currently there are 46 family named endowments in addition to the general Prep Endowment Fund. These endowments helped provide $947,350 in tuition assistance this past school year to over 22% of the student body.
At a recent McHugh gathering family members shared their stories of Seattle Prep. “Everything my grandfather had he gave to Seattle Prep” said Tucker McHugh’67. His grandfather, T.C. McHugh, passed away in 1932 after losing everything in the Great Depression. “The one thing which could not be taken away from him was his investment in Seattle Prep. It was the best investment he ever made.”
The McHugh legacy to honor “T.C. and Ella’s “promise to God” continues today. Future generations have pledged to continue their support of Seattle Prep and its mission of Jesuit education. Just recently, several McHugh family members contacted the development office to inform us that they had included Prep in their estate plans. This generous deed insures that the T.C. and Ella Endowment will continue to grow, providing funds for tuition assistance to future generations of Panthers.
Three generations of the McHugh family gathered recently for a celebration. Top row, left to right: Marco Magnano ‘60, Dan Daviscourt ‘62, Tim McHugh ‘74, John Daviscourt ’71, Steve McHugh ‘80, Tucker McHugh ‘67. Bottom row, left to right: Alex McHugh 07, Chuck McHugh ‘42, Kyra McHugh ‘09, Marge McHugh, Kimmy Taft ‘13.
An Interview With Charles McHugh '62
The McHugh Family continues to share their time, talents and gifts with Seattle Prep. Please explain how this legacy continues to be passed on to future generations.
It is because of the school. We stay involved because of our high appreciation of the Jesuit education provided by Seattle Prep.
Why is Jesuit education so important to you? How has Jesuit education impacted your life?
I grew up with Jesuits. They were always a big part of my life. Our home
on Capital Hill was always open to the Jesuits. My mother was very congenial, welcoming and generous to all. Our home was a convenient stopping point. The Jesuits would often times walk by to visit or share a quick story. I will always remember Father Harold Small and his kindness to our family.
The formation of young men and women is what Jesuit education is all about. The Jesuits at Seattle Prep influenced my life tremendously.
Share a favorite memory or experience from your Prep days.
December 8, 1941 – a holy day. Our sodality mass and breakfast meeting for Panther Club was scheduled on this day. Instead we gathered in Father McDonald’s office to hear President Roosevelt’s declaration of war. I will never forget that moment when the twenty of us huddled around the radio listening to history unfold before us.
Tell us about why you have decided to support Seattle Prep over the years.
I believe you should share your riches with charities. Education is what I choose to support. The more education we have; the better America we will have. Prep has always been part of my life. Prep is a charity that influences and educates young men and women. What a wonderful way to share your riches!
At Prep's 2017 Graduation Ceremony, TC and Ella McHugh were named Honorary Distinguished Alumni of Seattle Prep, and their son, Chuck McHugh '62, received the the Distinguished Alumni Award.