Chris Hughes is Better Than You

dedicated to Jumo Executive Director and Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes


Hughes attended Grandview Middle School and Hickory High School before graduating from Phillips Academy Andover.

“I had a drama club when he was in the seventh grade,” said Beverly Snowden, public information officer for Hickory Public Schools. “He performed at the old Grandview Middle School.”

Snowden said she saw many qualities in Hughes that showed his leadership.

“He was a wonderful young man, he had lots of patience and was extremely giving,” she said.

Snowden said Hughes was always thinking creatively.

“Verbally, if I would sit down with him, you could always see his mind working,” she said. “He was relatively quiet. He listened more than he spoke.”

Other teachers said Hughes success did not come as a shock.

“I don’t find it surprising,” said Sally Ross, director of Hickory High and Northview Middle’s orchestra. “He played the viola and piano. He was strongly talented and a very hard worker and a goal setter.”


Facebook founder has Hickory roots

By Mary Elizabeth Robertson


His magazine is, anyway. The New Republic was in danger of going out of business before it reached its centennial. But then the most accidental of the Facebook millionaires swooped in to save it—and relaunch himself.

"We’re young again,” says an optimistic Leon Wieseltier, who has overseen the magazine’s back-of-the-book cultural coverage for three decades. Hughes, he says, “cares about books, about ideas, about the nature of the discourse. I have to tell you, it’s a spectacular relief. The pressures of the present moment in American journalism aren’t just economic; they’re intellectual, or rather anti-intellectual. I feel very confident in saying we’re not going to become quicker, fuzzier, faster. We’re reviving our old standards."

Chris Hughes, once a new-media pioneer, makes bet on old media with New Republic

(Source: Washington Post)

"By a gigantic stroke of fate, his freshman-year suitemate in 2002 was a kid from the rival Phillips Exeter prep school, a computer-programming whiz named Mark Zuckerberg. Hughes, a history and literature major, didn’t have computer chops, but he was intrigued by the Web project Zuckerberg and two other classmates were developing. He offered suggestions. More important, he offered his personality. In contrast to the intense and focused Zuckerberg, Hughes was articulate and outgoing, and boyishly attractive. He was the group’s natural salesman and, eventually, its spokesman."

(Source: Washington Post)

Facebook Co-Founder is Officially Married


The Facebook-watching world was surprised the day following the company’s IPO when co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg married his girlfriend Priscilla Chan. Now it seems that may just be the first in a series of Facebook founder weddings.

Zuckerberg’s former college roommate, Chris Hughes, announced in a similar manner on Saturday that he and his longtime boyfriend, Sean Eldridge, had tied the knot. Just like Zuckerberg, Hughes posted public wedding photos (where else?) on Facebook.

Hughes, 28, is now known more for his political activism and as the owner and editor-in-chief of The New Republic. He co-founded Facebook with roommates Zuckerberg and Dustin Moskovitz (plus financial backing from Eduardo Saverin) back in 2004. Rather than serving as another coder, Hughes became the site’s spokesperson in its early days. Like Saverin, but unlike Hughes’s roommates, the young co-founder declined to drop out of Harvard at move to Palo Alto immediately. He graduated magna cum laude with a degree in history and literature before taking a full time job on Facebook’s product team.

Eldridge, 25, is the founder of Protect Our Democracy, an advocacy group for campaign finance reform, and the president of Hudson River Ventures, an investment firm. Eldridge previously served as the political director of Freedom to Marry, a group that advocates same-sex marriage.

According to The New York Times, Hughes and Eldridge met in 2005 in Cambridge, where Hughes was a senior at Harvard and Eldridge was working as a customer service manager for a moving company.

The New York Post reports that guests at the wedding party included Zuckerberg, Sean Parker, Gayle King,  Newark Mayor Cory Booker, NY Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Chuck Schumer, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

Chris Hughes and Sean Eldridge Marriage

Chris Hughes and Sean Eldridge were married Saturday at their home in Garrison, N.Y. William J. Corbett, a retired village justice of Floral Park, N.Y., officiated.

Mr. Hughes (left), 28, works from New York, Garrison and Washington as the publisher and editor in chief of The New Republic magazine. He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard. He founded Facebook with Mark Zuckerberg, Dustin Moskovitz and Eduardo Saverin. Mr. Hughes also led the online organizing for Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign. He is the son of Brenda Hughes and Arlyn Ray Hughes of Wilmington, N.C. His mother retired as a mathematics teacher at Newton-Conover High School in Newton, N.C. His father retired as a sales manager at the Snyder Paper Company in Hickory, N.C.

Mr. Eldridge, 25, is the founder and treasurer of Protect Our Democracy, an advocacy group based in Garrison that seeks campaign finance reform. He is also the president of Hudson River Ventures, an investment firm in Garrison. He was until July 2011, the political director of Freedom to Marry, a group that advocates same-sex marriage. He graduated from Brown.

He is the son of Dr. Sarah Taub of Toledo, Ohio, and Dr. Stephen A. Eldridge of Ann Arbor, Mich. His mother is a family physician at the Milan Family Practice in Milan, Mich. His father is a diagnostic and interventional radiologist in private practice in Toledo.

The couple met in November 2005 through a college acquaintance of Mr. Eldridge’s at a brunch in Harvard Square in Cambridge, Mass. Mr. Eldridge was working as a customer service manager for a moving company in Somerville, Mass., and Mr. Hughes was a senior at Harvard, and already a founder of Facebook.

“He was very intelligent and charismatic,” Mr. Hughes said of Mr. Eldridge. “He was very kind and politically engaged, and he cared about the world around us. All of that was very attractive to me.”

Mr. Eldridge was equally attracted. A week later, he asked Mr. Hughes out on a date.

“I think we shared a lot of important, common interests,” Mr. Eldridge said. “We have a love of philosophy, politics and literature. He was one of the most intelligent and ambitious people I had ever met.”

Their first date was at Temple Bar in Cambridge. While Mr. Hughes did not remember what he drank, he is certain that Mr. Eldridge, then 19, did not consume alcohol.

“He couldn’t legally drink,” Mr. Hughes said.

Still, Mr. Eldridge said that he and Mr. Hughes “had a great time.”

“It all happened very fast,” Mr. Eldridge recalled.

(Source: The New York Times)

Mr. Hughes grew up in Hickory, N.C., the son of a traveling paper salesman and a schoolteacher. He left home at 15 to attend Phillips Academy in Andover, Mass., which he researched on the Internet; it offered him the most generous financial aid of all the places he applied to, he said. The moneyed environment there did not feel entirely comfortable.

“When I was 17, I went to India for six weeks and had what, at the time, was a very challenging trip,” Mr. Hughes recalled while sitting in his office. “You walk down the street and you see lepers and beggars, and there were several of us, a group of Americans. I remember we were just trying to park one night somewhere and people were just sleeping in the parking lot.”

The experience did not spark a spiritual awakening, said Mr. Hughes, who was raised an evangelical Lutheran, but something more cerebral. “It was sort of like, why should one person have so many challenges and another person not?” he said. “To me the dissonance between the levels of opportunity, it just doesn’t make sense.”

In the fall of 2002, Mr. Hughes enrolled at Harvard and was assigned to share a dorm room with Mr. Zuckerberg and Dustin Moskovitz, who, along with Eduardo Saverin, founded Facebook their sophomore year. For Mr. Hughes, a history and literature student with no programming skills, it later seemed to outsiders a lucky break.

“He is fortunate he found himself in the same room,” said David Kirkpatrick, a journalist and author of “The Facebook Effect,” who spoke with Mr. Hughes for the book. But Mr. Hughes had something his roommates lacked. “He is more socially adjusted than the rest of them,” Mr. Kirkpatrick said. “He’s more smooth.”

Mr. Hughes was essentially Facebook’s first spokesman. He was a liaison with other universities, drumming up positive press in student newspapers. He also answered phone calls and e-mails. “I would help out with customer support and anything that would later become product,” he said. But when Mr. Zuckerberg and Mr. Moskovitz quit Harvard and moved to Silicon Valley in 2005, Mr. Hughes stayed behind. His studies, he said, “were a prism to better understand and see how the world works today.”

(Source: The New York Times)

Mr. Eldridge, meanwhile, the son of two physicians (he has two older sisters) went to public high school in Toledo. He resists revealing personal details in conversation or online, particularly on his Facebook page, which consists mostly of bland political posts and is, according to Mr. Eldridge, “a professional thing.” Even friends and colleagues of the couple said they did not know Mr. Eldridge well.

“I think having been close to Facebook from the beginning, it makes you a cautious person,” Mr. Eldridge said. “I’ve always been like that.” He is such a cautious type, he added later, that he bought extra home fire extinguishers for all the fireplaces.

His wary nature could also be explained in part by his political ambitions. In 2004-5, he spent a year at Deep Springs College, an exclusive two-year all-male school in California’s high desert that combined rigorous academic study with life on a cattle ranch. It was a monastic existence, with the school’s 26 students expected to herd cows, scrub toilets and, after chores, engage in political discourse and debate social justice. (Past attendees include William vanden Heuvel, a former American diplomat.)

There, Mr. Eldridge worked hard on public speaking, one of the school’s required courses. “He was interested in learning those skills,” said David Neidorf, Deep Springs’s president.

But he also left college for a while to work for a moving company outside Boston. He met Mr. Hughes at a brunch in Harvard Square, after a college acquaintance of Mr. Eldridge’s suggested they might become friends. “A week later I asked him out on a real date,” Mr. Eldridge said. (It was a dinner in November 2005 at Temple Bar in Cambridge, Mr. Hughes recalled, during which they talked about philosophy and politics.) “Our relationship became serious pretty quickly,” said Mr. Eldridge, who later transferred to Brown and graduated with a degree in philosophy in May 2009.

(Source: The New York Times)

ON a cloudy Sunday in March, Mr. Hughes and Mr. Eldridge were relaxing at their estate in Garrison, N.Y., a quiet, countrified enclave 50 miles from the city where Jacob Weisberg, a former New Republic editor who runs the Slate Group, also has a house, as does Roger Ailes. The couple acquired 80 acres in 2011 for an estimated $5 million, after buying the SoHo loft for $5 million a year before. While they enjoy city life, Mr. Eldridge said, Garrison is where “we put down roots, where we want to have a family”; the community reminded him of Toledo, Ohio, he said, where he grew up playing outside and visiting neighbors unfettered.

Their property includes a former farmhouse built in the 1800s that was inhabited a century later by Vanderbilt Webb, a descendant of the industrialist Cornelius Vanderbilt, who held lavish society parties there with his wife, Aileen Osborn Webb, a patron of the arts. They enjoy hiking in the Catskills, an hour away.

Mr. Eldridge opened the front door of the house to greet their guest, as Lucy, the couple’s 6-month-old Rhodesian Ridgeback, bounded down the bluestone walkway. Mr. Eldridge, the taller of the two men, wore a snug sweater that revealed a body toned by weights and daily runs in the hills behind his house. He flashed a polite smile that faded as he turned to go indoors. Mr. Hughes, who earlier that day had spoken on a panel at the local library about the future of books, seemed more at ease, sweetly grinning as he offered a guest a glass of Pellegrino and a brief tour.

(Source: The New York Times)