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2/10/2020 - Jackson, Miss.

The Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning named Thomas Hudson as Acting President of Jackson State University at its meeting held earlier today in Jackson, effective immediately. Hudson currently serves as Special Assistant to the President and Chief Diversity Officer for Jackson State.

"We are extremely pleased that Thomas Hudson has agreed to serve as Acting President," said Hal Parker, President of the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning. "As both an alumnus and a current staff member, he has a deep love for and understanding of the campus and all it means to the students, faculty, staff, alumni and the state."

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.

He 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.

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.

"As a Jackson State alumnus and senior-level cabinet member, Thomas Hudson is committed to the success of the university and extremely knowledgeable about all facets of the campus," said Dr. Alfred Rankins Jr., Commissioner of Higher Education.

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 changes 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 design a program to bring awareness of interpersonal violence prevention to the student body and 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.

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.

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.

The Board of Trustees will discuss the future leadership of Jackson State at its regular Board meeting next week.

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The Mississippi Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning governs the public universities in Mississippi, including Alcorn State University; Delta State University; Jackson State University; Mississippi State University including the Mississippi State University Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine; Mississippi University for Women; Mississippi Valley State University; the University of Mississippi including the University of Mississippi Medical Center; and the University of Southern Mississippi.

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