Exploring the Human Condition

Two worlds colliding set CMU alumnus Dick Hughes on the path to a meaningful life

By Pam Wigley

Raised in Pittsburgh’s Shadyside neighborhood in the 1950s, Dick Hughes (A 1966) didn’t venture far to attend college, choosing to major in drama at Carnegie Mellon University. After graduating in 1966, he went further afield to earn a Master of Fine Arts from Boston University.

Soon, he found himself around the world, amid jungle warfare during the Vietnam War, working as a journalist alongside the military and witnessing firsthand the devastating effects of the war on both sides, and, ultimately, becoming the man he is today.

At the time, he didn’t understand how truly grateful he would be for the rigorous training he received at Carnegie Mellon.

“My two worlds collided when I went to Vietnam,” Dick said. “Through my training, I was able to empathize with both sides of the war and its emotions.”

As a young man, the war weighed heavily on him, he said, and he knew he couldn’t serve as a soldier. He registered as a conscientious objector and, while awaiting word from the government as to his approval status, he took matters into his own hands.

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