UM Family Mourns Hugh Johnston Sloan III, Beloved Professor

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Associate professor emeritus of marketing once directed the Small Business Institute

Hugh Johnston Sloan III, associate professor emeritus of marketing at the University of Mississippi, died Sunday, April 19, 2020, at his home in Oxford. He was 78.

A veteran businessman with three decades of various professional experience, Sloan was recruited to be director of the UM Small Business Institute in 1991. He guided marketing students in hundreds of studies, creating business and marketing plans for small enterprises across north Mississippi.

Sloan also guided these novice team projects with local businesses in coordination with the Small Business Administration. Each of these marketing studies and business plans generated federal funding for the School of Business Administration and also supported many Mississippi entrepreneurs.

UM business school faculty and staff remembered Sloan for his dedication, enthusiasm and relentless creativity.

“Hugh was interested in a variety of topics, and I conversed with him over the years on things ranging from fixed-wing aircraft to military intelligence,” said Ken Cyree, dean of the School of Business Administration. “He was very passionate about students and took their feedback seriously.

“He worked long hours and was ‘a trooper,’ to quote some of our faculty. He would always do what he could to help the school and was the consummate team player.”

Del Hawley, senior associate dean, remembered his longtime colleague cared deeply about other people, including the many students he taught and mentored.

“He did everything he could to help in any way he could, in the most selfless manner possible. He was a true gentleman in every sense of the word and was, above all, a good and decent person.”

Rhonda Swider, business manager, said Sloan represented “a life well-lived.”

“His joyful nature will be greatly missed, and we are all fortunate to have known him,” Swider said.

Sloan taught introduction to marketing, retail, global marketing, supply chain and many other courses. He lobbied for years for a logistics-supply chain major within the school, which has since become a reality.

Early Life and the Military

Born in Wilmington, North Carolina, Sloan lived in many towns before the family moved to Portsmouth, Ohio. After his graduation from Portsmouth High School, he enrolled at Ohio University in Athens before joining the U.S. Air Force following his freshman year.

The Air Force, recognizing his talent for languages, sent Sloan to Indiana University and Syracuse University to become a Russian linguist. He served 27 years as an intelligence analyst in such posts as Peshawar, Pakistan, and Misawa, Japan, listening to Soviet MiG instructors training pilots for service in Vietnam and intercepting historic Space Race transmissions such as those by Gherman Titov, the second person to orbit Earth.

With that experience, he was assigned to the National Security Agency in Washington, D.C., with top-secret Russian language intelligence responsibilities.

While on active duty, Sloan studied with the University of Maryland Overseas and earned a bachelor’s degree in political science, receiving his diploma in a ceremony in a conference hotel in Tokyo. Following his career as active duty military, his first master’s degree was in political science from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, after which he joined the corporate world in telecommunications.

Corporate Years in Telecom

Sloan worked for many years for AT&T, Ohio Bell Commercial Sales, in Springfield, Dayton, and later in sales management in Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio.

Missing military camaraderie, Sloan joined the Ohio Air National Guard at Rickenbacker Air Base in Columbus, Ohio. Still with AT&T, he trained with the Guard in the upper peninsula of Michigan, Hawaii, Nevada, Germany, Panama and Great Britain. He attended Ohio Air National Guard Officer’s School in Maryville, Tennessee, and was promoted to lieutenant, captain and major with high security clearance in the Rickenbacker Intel Shop.

Reluctantly departing AT&T, Sloan earned a master’s degree in marketing at Ohio State University, followed by a doctorate in marketing with a minor in logistics. His work with corporate America, merged with his experience in Air Force intelligence, produced an expertise and passion for logistics and supply chain management, which he applied to his teaching career.

The University of Mississippi and the City of Oxford

Sloan took pride in his service work for the university and Oxford, such as being an adviser to Golden Key honorary, into which he was admitted alongside author Barry Hannah. With his wife, Mary, he served as co-chairman of the Bramlett Elementary School PTA, and was a researcher and founding member of the board of directors of Yocona International Folk Festival.

For Chancellor Emeritus Robert Khayat, Sloan did an early economic impact study of Ole Miss football that resulted in all the home games being played in Oxford instead of Jackson and Memphis. He documented “heads on beds,” meals, gas sales and other travel expenditures, which resulted in growth of the community’s football economy, restaurants, arts, hotels and tourism.

Sloan also did a UM baseball economic impact study that resulted in the expansion of the stadium and generated greater tourism taxes.

At the request of Harry Sneed and the LOU Chamber of Commerce, Sloan developed an airport economic impact study, resulting in the extension of the University-Oxford Airport runway and eventually a new terminal. For the town of Sardis, he developed an economic impact study with Waggoner Engineering of Jackson, eventually resulting in the development of a new marina.

Over the years, the Sloan family hosted U.S. State Department international exchange students through a program called FLEX. With International Business Seminars, Sloan traveled with Ole Miss and other universities’ students to learn about trans-cultural business practices in Australia and the Czech Republic.

During the summer of 1998, Sloan taught Ole Miss students at Downing College, part of Cambridge University in England. He was a member of Military Officers Association of America, founded the World Future Society in Columbus, Ohio, and published “Global Marketing,” a digital textbook with embedded tests, study guides, quizzes and exam questions, and graphic design to describe his multidimensional vision of this dynamic and evolving field of study.

Sloan is survived by his wife and best friend, Mary Love Stringfield Sloan, of Oxford; a son, Hugh Johnston Sloan IV, of Oxford; a daughter, Susan Kathleen Sloan of Plano, Texas; a sister, Mary Linda Sloan Guernsey, of Fairborn, Ohio; and a host of family and friends.

In lieu of flowers, donations honoring Sloan can be made to Cambridge United Methodist Church in care of Fran Fuller, treasurer, at 212 Ross Ave., Oxford; or to Civil Air Patrol, the official civilian auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, in care of Dwight Frink, squadron commander, dfrink.cap@yahoo.com.

By Edwin B. Smith

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