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Bill Hughes and Helen Schrickel

UT Arlington is a family affair for Helen Schrickel and Bill Hughes.

Bill Hughes and Helen Schrickel

It began 81 years ago when their father, William L. Hughes, came to what was then North Texas Agricultural College to teach biology. A bloomer-clad young physical education and chemistry teacher, Martha Woodson, soon captured his heart, and the couple married in 1927. They had two children, Bill and Helen, and the family home was on West Street, near the present E.H. Hereford University Center.

"The campus was our playground," recalls Bill, a former judge of the 48th District Court of Texas. 

His father became chair of the Biology Department, a post he held until 1963, and continued teaching two more years. Bill began college at NTAC, where he played football and was a member of the Cadet Corps. He served during the Korean conflict and then headed to UT Austin, where he completed law school.

Helen finished two years at what was by then Arlington State College, where she was a cheerleader and queen of the annual coronation, and then received her bachelor of arts in business at UT Austin.

After college she took to the sky as a stewardess for American Airlines. "I flew for a year before I got married. In those days, married women could not be stewardesses."

Her groom was another alum, Gene Schrickel Jr. Gene started at NTAC in 1944, left for military service in World War II, and returned in 1946 to become a star basketball player. He later completed his bachelor's degree at Texas A&M University, where he was basketball team captain. He was inducted into the UT Arlington Athletics Hall of Honor in 1992.

Both Helen and Gene were devoted to UT Arlington. Gene, who died in July 2005, loved basketball and jazz, and over the years he and Helen became big fans of former jazz studies Director Bill Snodgrass and the UT Arlington Jazz Orchestra. In 1996 they established the Helen and Gene Schrickel Jr. Basketball Scholarship Fund and the Helen and Gene Schrickel Enrichment Fund for Jazz Studies.

When the elder Hughes died, Bill Hughes and his wife, Barbara, established the William L. and Martha Hughes Scholarship for the Study of Biology.

The Hughes legacy continues. Bill saw his son graduate from UT Arlington, and his twin grandsons, Travis and Reid Hughes, and Helen's granddaughter, Lauren Pair, are current students.

A family affair, indeed.

— Sue Stevens

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