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Released July 23, 2004


HATTIESBURG -- Dr. Tim Hudson, Hattiesburg Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at The University of Southern Mississippi, has been named the finalist for the position of president at the University of Houston -Victoria, officials from both schools announced today.

"I am very excited about this opportunity for my family and for me," Hudson, 50, said. "I am humbled to be selected to serve in this capacity, and I am honored by the confidence being placed in me by the UH board of regents, the chancellor, the community and everyone at the University of Houston -Victoria."

The hiring, Southern Miss President Dr. Shelby Thames said, reflects Hudson's sterling credentials and capable leadership while further illustrating Southern Miss' growing national stature.

"This is great news both for Dr. Hudson and for The University of Southern Mississippi. Having one of our own administrators considered and selected for such a prestigious position reinforces our belief that Southern Miss is a world-class university," Thames said.

"It seems our reputation for nurturing and producing top-notch talent is starting to make itself known. The word about Southern Miss is getting out. It is my belief that Dr. Hudson will make a supremely capable president, and I extend the best of wishes from myself and the entire Southern Miss family."

Thames said he will appoint an interim provost before beginning a national search to replace Hudson.

In addition to his role as provost, which he assumed in 2002, Hudson served as a faculty member and administrator at Southern Miss for more than two decades. During his lengthy association with his alma mater, he served as the founding dean of the Center for International and Continuing Education and as a professor of economic development. As provost for both the Hattiesburg and Gulf Coast campuses, Hudson acted as the chief academic officer and the senior university officer next to Thames.

"We are excited that Dr. Hudson accepted our offer," said University of Houston System Chancellor and UH President Jay Gogue. "He brings an impressive experience in higher education and a strong commitment to developing effective community partnerships that will benefit the university and the Victoria area."

While Hudson is enthusiastic about becoming UHV's new president, he said the news is "somewhat bittersweet."

"The University of Southern Mississippi is my alma mater. It is the place I have worked for more than two decades; it is the place where my wife and daughters studied; it is the community of friends that has sustained me and worked alongside me to develop unique opportunities for our students; and it is the place where I have been mentored so well by so many who care so deeply," Hudson said.

"And Hattiesburg is our home. We will leave behind an eclectic and wonderful group of friends and family members - including our two oldest daughters, two sons-in-law, and our first grandson. So we'll be back."

Hudson is married to Dr. Deidra Ransburgh Hudson, a speech-language pathologist originally from Huntsville, Ala., who holds a Ph. D. in higher education administration from Southern Miss. He is the father of five children, including one currently enrolled at Southern Miss and another who graduated and is currently employed by Southern Miss, a six-year-old daughter and three-year-old twins. He is a lifetime member of the Southern Miss Alumni Association and a Rotarian.

Hudson, a native of Purvis, graduated summa cum laude from Southern Miss in 1975 and received his M.A. in 1977. He earned his Ph.D. in geography from Clark University in Worcester, Mass.

A fellow for the Royal Geographical Society as well as the City of London Polytechnic, he holds the 2002 International Association of Continuing Higher Education Distinguished Credit Programming Award, a Distinguished Teaching Achievement Award from the National Council for Geographic Education and a certificate of excellence from the U.S. Department of State.

The search for a new UHV president began in February 2004, with a committee composed of internal UHV constituents and members of the community. Texas law requires the board of regents to give the public at least 21 days' notice prior to a meeting at which final action is taken on the employment of the final candidate. Hudson starts his new position at UHV on Sept. 1.

At UHV, Hudson will preside over a 115-member faculty and a 155-member staff. The university has an enrollment of about 2,500, with an alumni base of 6,500. UHV has an operating budget of $24 million.

Established in 1973 and located in the Coastal Bend portion of Texas, UHV serves a 16-county region southwest of Houston. UHV offers bachelor's and master's degree programs in the arts and sciences, business administration, and education.

After serving as an intelligence analyst at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C., Hudson returned to Southern Miss in 1985 to oversee the development of Southern Miss' now vast and nationally ranked international programs.

He has implemented more than 40 study-abroad programs worldwide. Among these are the British Studies Program, the largest credit abroad program operated by any U.S. university in London; the Abbey Program in Pontlevoy, France, where Southern Miss received the most generous renovation subvention ever granted by France to a non-French entity; thriving Spanish-language programs in Mexico and Spain; the pioneering Cuban Studies Program and the award-winning Vietnam Studies Program.

Dr. Joe Paul, vice president for student affairs at Southern Miss, praised Hudson's reputation as an innovator in international higher education.

"This is great news for Tim. I am particularly proud that a former classmate of mine is ascending to a college presidency. Because he is a Southern Miss alumnus, I think we can all take pride in that as well," Paul said.

Under Hudson's direction Southern Miss has emerged as Mississippi's leader in Web-based learning and has established numerous lifelong learning initiatives. Its highly touted Institute for Learning in Retirement program, a self-guided group of 400 retirement age "students," plays a key role in making Mississippi an attractive retirement destination.

More recently, Hudson won IHL approval to offer a new doctorate in international development to complement the college's top-ranked master's degree program in economic development. Aimed at mid-career professionals, the new Ph.D. program has soared to more than 35 students in just three years while research dollars associated with the economic development enterprise at Southern Miss have more than tripled.

The success of these programs along with profitable study-abroad and continuing education initiatives led to the approval of a new $8 million complex for the college, which will be funded equally by the state and revenues produced by CICE.

The recipient of an ITT International Fellowship to study in Colombia and two Fulbright Scholarships to study in Germany and Mexico, Hudson was awarded an honorary doctorate by London Guildhall University in 1996 for his lifelong contributions to international education, global understanding and economic development. His other honors include the National Council for Geographic Education's Distinguished Teacher Award, the Public-Private Initiative Award from Loire-et-Cher (France), and the Friend of Jamaica Medallion.

In 2001, Hudson was invited to serve as the sole U.S. representative on the European Commission's Spain-based "Millennium Committee," which was charged with producing a strategic plan for European higher education for the decade ahead. Hudson wrote--in Spanish--large sections of the committee's final report, including chapters on community-university relations and the utilization of higher education as a platform for economic development.

Throughout his tenure as dean, Hudson maintained an active research agenda and authored or co-authored numerous articles and monographs. He has also taught in Southern Miss' undergraduate Honors College and at Southern Miss Gulf Park.


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July 23, 2004 4:01 PM