Guest column: Hudson accomplished mammoth amount of progress

Sept. 29, 2010 at 4:29 a.m.

Tim Hudson called me in the spring of 2006, the week before I took my last doctoral exam at the University of Houston, to wish me well.

A nice gesture, I thought. Really nice. Before we hung up, he asked if I'd be interested in a position with a literary journal, American Book Review, which Jeffrey Di Leo had recently recruited from Illinois State. To say I was shocked to be offered the opportunity to apply for a position (managing editor) in my field of study (creative writing/fiction) at my hometown university is an understatement. I was stunned.

That call, that opportunity was my first brush with the professional-grade proactivity of the dynamic Dr. Hudson. Fortunately, I passed the exit exam, accepted the job, and upon returning to Victoria, was pleasantly surprised to be working for a president who had completely integrated himself and his family into the fabric of the community. This was not a president perched atop the ivory tower. This was a man who was amazingly hands-on, ready, willing and able to participate, on the ground, in the business of growing and improving UHV.

Over the next five years, he worked tirelessly with my colleagues in the School of Arts & Sciences on establishing the Masters in Publishing program, recruiting the innovative press FC2 from Florida State and renovating the airport lobby, to name just a few. I learned quickly that Tim Hudson was a genuine idea machine - generating, evaluating, actualizing.

For example, Dr. Hudson listened intently in the fall of 2006, when Dr. Di Leo and I pitched a reading series featuring the small-press authors we reviewed in ABR. He agreed and hoped it would serve as a cultural bridge to the students, faculty, staff and community. The Tim Hudson difference was this - five years and 33 visiting writers later - I can honestly say that he read every writer's latest offering, attended either their noon talk or evening reading and spoke intelligently, with the author, about their area of specialty.

Actually, Dr. Hudson could talk to anyone about everything. This made him a perfect ambassador for both UHV and Victoria.

At every step, for every idea trying to become a new-born reality, Tim Hudson was ceaselessly active: asking spot-on questions, introducing contacts, greeting visitors, playing devil's advocate, hosting and attending readings and dinners.

Tim was always accessible, always accurately briefed, always thoroughly and personally engaged, always lending a positive note to the proceedings with a thoughtful comment or cogent formal remarks.

Tim Hudson's legacy of accomplishment at the University of Houston-Victoria is undeniably impressive.

In a little more than five years, Tim (with the constant support of his charming, indefatigable wife Dee Dee) took UHV to the next level. His visionary leadership resulted in four-year status, college athletics, a new School of Nursing and a slew of nationally recognized programs in Business, Education and Arts & Sciences. All made possible by record, semester-by-semester, enrollment growth.

In closing, I strongly believe that Victoria is a quintessential college town in the making.

I want to thank Tim for his incredible investment of time, talent, energy, good-will and gumption in service of the University of Houston-Victoria and the city of Victoria.

He was a great guy to work for and a true friend who made life at UHV exciting and amazingly fruitful.

We are immeasurably improved. I am much obliged.

Charles Alcorn is the Managing Editor of the American Book Review and Instructor of English at the University of Houston-Victoria. He splits his time between Victoria and Houston.



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