The campus of Jackson State University feels like home to President Thomas K. Hudson. In fact, he can’t remember a time when the university wasn’t a part of his life. Growing up in Jackson, not far from the campus, he went to classes with his mother when she didn’t have childcare. As he got older, he participated in summer programs that the university offered for children. And when he graduated from high school, Hudson knew that Jackson State was where he wanted to continue his education.
As a student at Jackson State, Hudson found a supportive environment and professors who encouraged and challenged him, seeing his potential and helping him achieve it. Hudson graduated from JSU in 1999 with a bachelor’s degree in political science and went on to earn a juris doctor from the University of Mississippi School of Law in 2005.
Now, Hudson has come full circle. He’s back “home” at the university that has always welcomed him, and as the university’s 12th president, he is getting his chance to see to it that a new generation of students gets the supportive atmosphere and educational opportunities that made JSU such a good fit for him.
Providing the best possible college experience for a campus full of young people would be a worthy and challenging aim in the best of circumstances. But timing and world events have worked together to make Hudson’s job more demanding than he ever expected. When he assumed his new role at the helm of the university in February 2020, he could not know that within weeks the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic would force him to make decisions for the university that he could never have seen coming. In addition, a series of bomb threats to HBCUs around the country early this year, including one at Jackson State in February, led Hudson to testify before the U. S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Homeland Security.
Tune in Thursday at 6 p.m. on MFP’s Facebook page or YouTube channel to hear President Hudson discuss with Kimberly Griffin and Donna Ladd what’s happening now at Jackson State and his vision for the University’s future as well as the capital city around it.
This MFP Voices essay does not necessarily represent the views of the Mississippi Free Press, its staff or board members. To submit an essay for the MFP Voices section, send up to 1,200 words and factcheck information to [email protected] We welcome a wide variety of viewpoints.