- W. George Pinnell Award for Outstanding Service (2000)
Richard Hug guides many efforts to improve the quality of life in northwest Indiana. He is, for example, active in the Community Outreach Partnership Project, a team of IU Northwest and community leaders who seek to attack local urban problems. Hug also has undertaken several projects that deal with the effects of welfare reform in Gary and Lake County. Data analysis and proposal writing are two of his greatest contributions to these projects. Sometimes Hug’s proposals are denied, but he continues to write them, "a compliment to his determination and dedication," said Joseph Pellicciotti, director of the Division of Public and Environmental Affairs and Political Science at IUN.
Hug plays a vital role in the Healthy Start Action Alliance, a local agency that promotes neonatal health and aims to reduce infant mortality in Lake County, and is on the board of the Lake County Child Health Program, which runs clinics for children of low-income families. In this capacity, he has been a strong advocate for lead screening for children in the county. Hug also has been instrumental in establishing the Gary Community Health Center, another facility for medically under-served families.
As a board member of the Glen Park Community Development Corporation, Hug has spent countless hours on projects to beautify and develop land near the IUN campus. The group plans to build new homes on the property, and Hug has coordinated efforts of local stakeholders to make the area attractive by cleaning vacant lots and providing a play space for children. Also in this neighborhood is the new Gleason Park Baseball Field. Hug was among those responsible for securing funding for the field, which is now home to the IUN team.
He has devoted considerable time to the IUN Botanical Garden project and is participating in a drive to construct a memorial to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on or near the campus.
As a member of IUN’s Environmental Justice Project Team, Hug analyzes data about environmental and health conditions in northwest Indiana, coordinates contacts between the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the community, and studies hazardous waste sites in the region. In 1998, he helped the regional EPA office organize a public forum on the USX steel corporation’s plans to dredge the Grand Calumet River. He also provided data analysis of a survey of environmental problems in Gary; his report was used at the EPA’s 1998 Environmental Justice Conference in the city.