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College of Arts & Sciences
Department of Biological Sciences

In Memory of Dr. Austin Hughes (1949 – 2015)

Dr. Austin Hughes died on October 31st. This unexpected loss came as a shock to the Department of Biological Sciences at USC.

Austin received his undergraduate education in Philosophy from Georgetown University (1969) and completed graduate studies in Philosophy at Harvard. In 1984, Austin received his Ph.D. in Zoology from Indiana University. He joined our Department in 2000. He will be remembered as a world renowned scholar and a much-liked teacher and colleague.

He was a Carolina Distinguished Professor, an AAAS fellow, and a week before his death, the Department of Biological Sciences nominated him for the Governor’s Award for Scientific Excellence.

His scholarly work in biology comprises about 400 articles and has been cited more than 9,000 times by other scientists. He had an h-factor on the Web of Science of 49, at the very top of USC scholars.

Over the years at USC, Austin taught six different courses, most recently Domestic Animal Nutrition and Biology of Birds. He quickly gained a reputation as an excellent and passionate teacher who cares about his students. The student evaluations of his courses were always above average. Who could find nicer words for him than these students he taught:

“I really appreciate Professor Hughes holistic view of Biology. There is value to understanding birds and adding to our knowledge of life on earth!”

“Great professor, give him a pay raise.”

“Dr. Hughes is the sweetest man, …”

“Dr. Hughes is extremely knowledgeable about all topics presented in this course. He presents all of the material very clearly and in a way that is easy to understand and absorb. He is such a nice man, and always willing to answer questions!”

“Dr. Hughes is one of the best biology professors I've had at USC. He explains everything very well and is genuinely concerned that his students do well.”

We are saddened by the tragic passing of Austin. He will leave a gap that will be difficult to fill.