(JACKSON, Miss.) — The Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning named Jackson State University Acting President Thomas K. Hudson as president of the university at its meeting held this morning in Jackson. Hudson was named acting president earlier this year.
“As a Jackson State University alumnus, I am extremely pleased that we have identified one of our own to serve as president,” said Dr. Steven Cunningham, a member of the Board of Trustees. “We have witnessed the great strides he has made over the past nine months and have full confidence that he will continue to demonstrate the great love he has for this university by providing outstanding leadership for the students, faculty, staff and alumni.”
As Acting President, Hudson has provided leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic and the university’s Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges reaffirmation process. He has also helped to improve the university’s financial position.
“Naming Thomas Hudson as president provides much-needed stability in leadership at the institution,” said Dr. Alfred Rankins Jr., Commissioner of Higher Education. “He has done an excellent job leading the university during an extraordinarily difficult time. I am pleased to continue working with him to advance Jackson State University and the university system.”
As Special Assistant to the President and Chief Diversity Officer, Hudson served on the executive cabinet and provided guidance to senior leadership on all topics related to the university’s future course and trajectory. With the Division of Human Resources and Office of General Counsel under his purview, Hudson oversaw institutional EEO and Title IX implementation and collaborated with other executive administrators on matters of curriculum, guidelines and practices.
“I am extremely appreciative and beyond humbled for the opportunity to continue to build upon Jackson State University’s extraordinary legacy,” Hudson said. “I recognize that it is an honor to serve in a leadership role, but it is an extreme honor and privilege to serve my alma mater – Jackson State University and the community I grew up in.
“My focus remains the same and that is to ensure the success of our students, faculty and staff and the long-term viability of JSU. I would like to thank the IHL Board of Trustees for entrusting me to lead. I want to thank my wife, daughters, mother and all my family for their infinite love and support. I also want to thank JSU administrators, faculty, staff and alumni for their deep-rooted dedication to JSU and their immovable belief in the power of a JSU education.”
Hudson also established collaborative partnerships with the University Veterans Center and Office of Disability Services to address the underrepresentation of employees from these groups. He also served as the president’s liaison for the Division of Athletics.
“My hope is that this historical event marks the first day of many more noteworthy achievements for our beloved Jackson State University,” said Dr. Dawn Bishop McLin, president of the JSU Faculty Senate. “During this transition, the Faculty Senate took special care to share areas of concern with President Hudson. Now, we will continue to work with him toward the realization of improvements in shared governance, faculty pay equity, improving the research infrastructure, and the overall University welfare during the current COVID-19 crisis and beyond. It is this type of collaboration that is essential to advance the mutual interests, for our students, our faculty, our alumni, and our University, so that we will share a bounty of success in our collective futures. In our aspirations to be one JSU, there are some that may not be pleased with the process in its entirety, but it’s my hope that we now, more than ever, galvanize our efforts in spirit and deed to fully support our University’s leader, President Thomas K. Hudson.”
Hudson conducted university-wide labor utilization analysis to determine areas of improvement as it relates to the university affirmative action plan and reorganized the Staff Development Center and assisted in developing courses in employee relations, development and compliance.
A member of the Jackson State staff since 2012, Hudson has also served as Chief Operating Officer/Chief Diversity Officer, Chief Diversity and EEO Officer/Title IX Coordinator. As Chief Operating Officer, Hudson implemented cost-saving measures that resulted in a 10 percent decrease in the university’s operational budget, coordinated academic and administrative restructuring efforts, resulting in an annual savings of $4 million, and led institutional efforts that changed a projected year-end deficit to an approximate $3 million cash balance.
Appointed as the inaugural Chief Diversity and Equal Opportunity Officer at Jackson State, Hudson received the Presidential Creative Award Grant for efforts in designing a program to bring awareness of interpersonal violence prevention to the student body and he designed and implemented the first university-wide training designed to eliminate implicit bias for search committees. In addition, he developed strategies for increasing the number of female faculty members in STEM disciplines, resulting in a 30 percent increase in hiring of women in these disciplines over a three-year period.
“The staff at Jackson State University (JSU) looks forward to our continuous working relationship with Mr. Thomas Hudson as the next president of (JSU),” said Dr. Rosella L. Houston, President of the JSU Staff Senate. “This is a momentous occasion as Mr. Hudson’s leadership thus far at University is a testament of his in-depth understanding of higher education and the need for stability and progression at JSU. I applaud Mr. Hudson’s steadfastness, as an alumnus, to the University.”
Hudson holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Jackson State University and a law degree from the University of Mississippi. Before joining the staff at Jackson State, Hudson founded his own law practice and served as an EEO specialist for the Department of Homeland Security/FEMA in Clinton.
“Jackson State University National Alumni Association, Inc. (JSUNAA) congratulates Thomas Hudson as Jackson State University’s 12th President. President Hudson is a proud alumnus and life member of JSUNAA and only the second to ascend to the Office of President,” said Dr. Earlexia Norwood, president, Jackson State University National Alumni Association, Inc.
“Jackson State University National Alumni Association, Inc. is committed to working alongside President Hudson as we promote academic excellence, grow our student enrollment and expand our university programs. In true Tiger style, President Hudson will continue the strong tradition of excellence and Tiger pride. We all stand united and elated as ONE JSU Family!”
Hudson serves as co-chairperson on the JSU Strategic Planning Committee and vice chairperson of the university system’s Chief Diversity Officers’ Council. He is a member of the Margaret Walker Alexander Center Board of Directors and the JSU Athletics Hall of Fame Foundation Board of Directors. He served as the Bias and Policy Lead for the National Science Foundation Advance Grant at Jackson State from 2013 to 2017 and served as Chairperson of the Director of Disability Services Search Committee in 2016.
Hudson and his wife, Phylandria, have two daughters.