One of the first students to enroll in the fledgling Pace Institute, as our university was known in its early days, was a young man named James F. Hughes. Of humble origins, Hughes attended public school and worked as a clerk in several organizations before deciding to stake his future on the field of accounting. He enrolled at Pace and never looked back, going on to a stellar career that included serving as president of both the New Jersey and New York associations of Certified Public Accountants and establishing his own accounting firm, Boyce, Hughes and Farrell at 70 Pine Street, right here in Lower Manhattan.
Hughes was known as “the Original Pace Man” and in many ways he continues to exemplify the Pace man and woman of today. He came to Pace determined to create a better life and he graduated with the tools he needed to succeed in his profession. But, like today’s students, Hughes was something still more. He was a thinking professional. Although Pace did not then offer the liberal arts program that we have today, Homer Pace was determined that his school should produce well-rounded individuals, so he supplemented his curriculum with pamphlets and articles that he wrote on “Cultural Reading,” “Character Building,” “Productive Use of Personal Time,” and exploring subjects like the relationship between the individual and the modern business world.
In the early part of the twentieth century, students like James Hughes were able to transform their lives because Homer Pace, Charles Pace, and many others were devoted to this enterprise. Homer Pace was always thinking about how to improve the Pace education and make the Pace experience the best it could be for all Pace men and women. He cared deeply about his students and he kept up with many of them throughout their lives. He wrote often to Hughes, chronicling the triumphs and setbacks of the Institute, and providing advice and insights to his former student, whom he called “the most loyal fellow in the world”.
As we begin a new academic year, let us be inspired by the example of the “Original Pace Man,” reaffirm our own devotion to this enterprise, and be reminded that students remain at the heart of everything we do. Let us follow Homer Pace’s lead and consider what each of us can do to make the Pace experience the best it can be for all Pace men and women.
Stephen J. Friedman