MARQUETTE – To say Northern Michigan University has been important to the Sten Taube and John Hughes families of Marquette may be an understatement.

As retired geography professors, Taube and Hughes taught a combined 56 years at Northern. Taube is also a 1961 NMU graduate.  Three of Taube's four children - son Scott '81 and daughters Sharon '87 and  Sabrina '95 - and all four of Hughes' children - Anne '81, Paul '86, Steve '89, and Bob '90 received degrees, as well as a master's degree for his wife Beatrice '80.

"My connection with Northern has been a lifetime association," said Taube. "I taught there for 30 years and it was a great place to have a teaching career.  Marquette was a great community to raise a family."

 When it came to giving back, Taube and Hughes knew just where they wanted their gift to go – the recently resurrected earth science program within the geography department.

"After Al Niemi's retirement and Steve Carlson's departure, John and I taught all the earth science courses for our department.  After we retired, the earth science major was phased out, but last spring the program was reapproved, and we wanted to support its revival," said Taube.

 The Taube/Hughes Earth Science Award will be presented annually to a student majoring in earth science or secondary education/earth science. The award will go to the applicant with the highest grade point average in one of the earth science majors or with the highest overall grade point average in the event of a tie.  The minimum GPA to qualify is a 3.30.

 "We decided upon a higher grade point average requirement because we wanted to reward and stimulate scholarly effort," said Hughes.

 Hughes came to NMU in 1965 and was the instructor for all geology courses and the course, Geography of Michigan.  Hughes conducted research on the glacial geology of the region and a substantial amount of applied research on shoreline erosion for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the National Park Service.  He retired in 1991.

 Taube returned to Northern in 1967 after teaching at colleges in Alabama and Indiana.  He taught the earth science, meteorology and physical geography courses, as well as a regional course on the geography of Latin America.  He retired in 1997.

 Another Northern connection is that three of NMU's eight current geography department instructors are former students of Hughes and Taube, including John Anderton '87, Richard Eathorne '74 and '77, and Bob Regis '86.

 The Taube/Hughes Earth Science Award is one of 85 new scholarships that have been endowed as part of This Decisive Season: The Campaign for Northern Michigan University.  Northern's scholarships are worth more than $400,000 annually to NMU students and have an overall investment value of more than $5 million to the university.

Further information about NMU's scholarship program is available at or by calling the Development Fund Office at (906) 227-2627.

Prepared By
Cindy Paavola
Director of Communications