35 Years of Distinguished Service
Rotarian Huguenin (Hue) Thomas, Jr. was Chairman of the Georgia Rotary Student Program for 35 years. He provided dedicated and dynamic leadership to this unique international student program.
Hue Thomas became a GRSP Trustee shortly after he joined the Rotary Club of Savannah in 1948. In 1955, he was elected Chairman and served until 1989 when he was appointed Chairman Emeritus.
Hue provided visionary leadership through his hands-on, day-to-day management of the program. He was personally involved in reviewing applications, selecting students and arranging the many aspects of the student’s academic year in Georgia.
His personal touch was recognized by many students and their parents in numerous “thank you” letters received by GRSP. For his many years of distinguished service, the GRSP Trustees established the $2,500 Hue Thomas Fellow Award for contributions, ensuring the continued growth of the Program.
“Hue and his wife, Alma truly loved this Program and all the students it has brought to Georgia,” said Ronnie Waller, retiring GRSP Chairman. “Hue was the guiding hand that molded Will Watt’s dream, making this successful program what it is today. His life and service remains a living testimony to the Ideals of Rotary.”
For his contributions to International Service through GRSP, the Savannah Rotary Club made Mr. Thomas a Paul Harris Fellow in 1978 and a Will Watt Fellow in 1981. Also in 1981, a GRSP Named Fund was established in his honor. In 1979, the King of Norway presented Hue with the Saint Olav Medal for his contributions to Norwegian students. Also, in recognition of his spirit of international leadership, Germany and Norway established scholarships, exclusively for Georgia students.
Hue was the principal founder of Thomas & Hutton Engineering Company and held the Rotary classification of Consulting Engineer. He served his club and district in many capacities, including President of the Savannah Rotary Club in 1952-53 and District Governor of District 692 in 1964-65. In 1986 he was named “Savannah Rotarian of the Year.”
He was active in Savannah’s business and civic community, sharing his talents and leadership as Director of Trust Company Bank as well as an officer and director of the United Way, the American Red Cross and the Chamber of Commerce. He also was active in church and school activities.
Hue’s contribution to the Georgia Rotary Student Program was best summarized by his longtime friend and trustee, John H. Cheatham, Jr., Secretary-Treasurer of GRSP, who said, “Hue was the most dedicated Rotarian I’ve known. Without his remarkable investment of time and talent, there would be no Georgia Rotary Student Program.”