Thomas K. Hudson, who had been filling in as interim president of Jackson State University following the ouster of its last president, Dr. William Bynum Jr., has been named the school’s permanent president.
The decision was made late last week following the approval of the board that governs Mississippi‘s eight public universities. Hudson takes the helm of the state’s largest historically Black university that currently boasts an enrollment of about 7,250.
“We do need stability at Jackson State University,” Hudson said during a news conference. “I’m here to make a difference. I am a lifelong Jackson resident. I’m an alumnus. I’ve been around the university as long as I’ve been on this earth.”
The university has steadily been recovering from the arrest and prosecution of Bynum, who was found guilty in July of participating in a prostitution sting. Bynum, who held administrative positions at a number of colleges and universities including Lincoln University of Pennsylvania and Morehouse, was convicted of a misdemeanor and ordered to pay fines.
Hudson has served as chief operating officer and chief diversity officer at Jackson State since 2012. College officials note that during Hudson’s tenure, he was responsible for implementing cost-saving measures that decreased the university’s operating budget by 10%.
“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 state College Board trustee and alumnus of the university. “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.”
Hudson earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Jackson State and a law degree from the University of Mississippi. Before joining the staff at Jackson State, Hudson founded a law practice and worked as an equal employment opportunity specialist for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in Clinton.