news-article - Coastal Carolina University
In This Section

Donation helps endow scholarship established in memory of CCU alumna

June 13, 2022
Jessica Hughes '17 worked as a student accounts specialist in CCU’s Office of Financial Services.Jessia Hughes graduated from CCU in 2017.

The Jessica K. Hughes Scholarship at Coastal Carolina University will now be endowed thanks to a family friend. Hughes, who graduated from CCU in 2017 and then worked as a student accounts specialist in the University’s Office of Financial Services, passed away at the age of 25 following a car accident in August 2020. Her former colleagues established an annual scholarship in her memory in August 2021. When family friend Capt. Bruce D. Rutherford learned of the scholarship, he decided to make a donation to endow the fund at $50,000.

The fund will provide perpetual scholarship support for eligible students majoring in marketing or finance in the E. Craig Wall Sr. College of Business Administration. To be eligible, students must be enrolled full time and have a GPA of 3.0 or higher. Preference will be given to students who demonstrate financial need as determined by CCU’s Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships.

“I am thrilled that this scholarship was established in Jessica’s memory,” said Hughes’ mother, Diana Gore. “She was very passionate about her school and was able to go there with scholarships and become a first-generation college graduate. She made it her goal to get back to CCU to work, and she was honored to work in the financial services office. She loved helping students, and now, with this scholarship, she is continuing to help.

“We are beyond grateful for Bruce and his generosity to get this scholarship going. Bruce has become a wonderful Christian friend over the years. He is very passionate and has a heart of gold. I’ve said it before – the world needs more people like Bruce in it. We are excited that more students will get the opportunity to go to college, all because of Bruce’s generous donation and in Jessica’s memory at the same time.”

Rutherford had a distinguished career in the U.S. Navy, where he served in various administrative roles responsible for coordinating logistical blood support for facilities. He became the director of the Navy Blood Program at the Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery in Washington, D.C., and later the director of the Armed Services Blood Program, where he coordinated the blood programs of the Army, Navy, and Air Force. While in the military, Rutherford received numerous honors; in 2013, he was the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Armed Services Blood Program.

“Through this gift, I have had the opportunity to get to know Bruce, learning about him, his accomplishments, and how his career was spent serving our country,” said Diane Sanders, CCU’s vice president for advancement and alumni engagement. “We are thrilled to have him endow this scholarship. Jessica’s legacy of helping others will now be continued in perpetuity through the generosity of Mr. Rutherford.”

Rutherford, a native of Pineville, Ky., earned a bachelor’s degree from Morehead State University and an MBA in health care administration from National University. His generosity includes establishing two scholarships at Morehead State. He also is an avid contributor to Find a Grave, a website that allows the public to search and add to an online database of cemetery records.

To make a donation to the Jessica K. Hughes Scholarship, click here. For more information, or to establish your own scholarship, contact CCU’s Office of Advancement and Alumni Engagement at 843.349.2007 or