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Joe Huff, a 35 year employee of
Galveston College, will be saying
his good-byes on December 31st,
entering a well-earned retirement.
I had a chance to speak to Huff
earlier this week, discussing and
reflecting on his experiences and
his accomplishments.
Huff was born in Norfolk, Virginia
but grew up in Smithfield, Virginia.
“Smithfield is the ham capital of
the world, and where the famous
Smithfield hams come from,” he
told me. After graduating highschool,
Huff attended Emory and
Henry College in Virginia, where
he earned his bachelor’s degree
in political science and mass communications
in 1975.
After earning his degree, Huff received
a job in Portsmouth, Virginia
as program manager and program
director at the Portsmouth Redevelopment
and Housing Authority. In
his capacity at this job he reported to
the director of development with major
responsibilities for budget monitoring,
grant writing, urban renewal
planning and community/neighborhood
interaction. Huff also had several
major accomplishments during
this job including serving as a as
team member for submission of three
major Community Development
Block Grants traditionally in top ten
of first approvals each year, working
as a writer and team member of the
first successfully funded Urban Development
Action Grant in the United
States, conducting completion and
phase out of rehabilitation loans and
spot clearance on Olde Towne Project,
one of the nation’s first and most
highly successful conventional conservation
neighborhood projects and
overseeing total budget planning and
execution control of about 15 million
dollars in federal funds.
Huff remained in this position until
1979, when he began working as the
public information officer for the Virginia
Housing Development Authority.
He held this position for a year,
during which he served as an agency
spokesperson, a legislative monitor,
a liaison for state/national media and
constituent/stockholder relations, as
well as reported to the General Manager/
Chief Executive Officer.
In 1980, Huff moved to Galveston
and began working first as the Director
of Public Relations and then
as the Director of Public and Community
relations at the Galveston
Port Authority. In this capacity, he
had responsibilities in community
development, advertising, public relations, publications and special events. He reported to the General Manager and Chief Executive Officer, and saw several major accomplishments including, developing a campaign to overcome the negative image of the Port after the oil terminal election in 1980, placing stories in Shipping Digest, Wall Street Journal and Propeller Club News between 1980 and 1982, and serving as a legislative monitor for the American Association Of Port Authorities Public Relations in 1981.
After working at the Port for a couple of years, Huff was contacted by then Galveston College President, Jack Stone, to come and work for the college as a Public Information Officer. Huff accepted, and has been a member of the college faculty—in different capacities—since 1982. He was the college’s Public Information Officer until 1988, its Public Relations Director until 2010, director of the Galveston College Foundation between 2004 and 2013, the Director of Institutional Advancement between 2010 and 2013, and it’s Director of Public Affairs since 2013.
In his capacity at the college, Huff saw several accomplishments including, raising $1.5 million from the Seibel Foundation to build a student center wing in 2009, receiving television exposure for the college, being named Administrator of the Year in 1992, creating the college’s first weekly employee/staff newsletter and producing the Silver Anniversary Special Event and Breakfast For Champions event for Scholarships, raising $46,000 in the process. Huff was also a team member in kicking-off the Universal Access Program, which allows graduates of a Galveston Island high-school or individuals living in Galveston, who are homeschooled or earned a GED to attend the college almost free.
And Huff—who has two sons and is currently working towards his master’s degree in Cross-cultural Studies from UHCL—told me that he was editor of his high-school newspaper The Pig’s Tale and assistant editor of the Emory and Henry College paper, The White Topper. “This paper is the oldest student newspaper in the South,” he told me. He is also heavily involved in the community and has held many community roles including, chairman of the Bay Area Council Boy Scouts Eagle board of review, chairman of the Galveston County American Red Cross and District Director of the National Council for Marketing and Public Relations. Currently, Huff is a United Way trustee and a member of Moody Memorial Methodist Administrative Council. He has also been honored several times including, in the Rotary District Hall of Fame in 2014, the Distinguished Service Award from the Marine Corps League in 1990, and the Walter Cecil Rawls Humanitarian Award in 1971.
As far as what’s next for Huff? He plans to stay in the Galveston area, take some time to relax, enjoy the beach and spend time with his two-year-old grandson and eight-year-old granddaughter. “But, after that, I plan to go back to work. In fact, I have already found five jobs—in the public relations and public information capacity,” he told me.
The Post congratulates Joe Huff on all of his accomplishments and on his upcoming retirement!

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