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Celebrating the impact of the late Dr. Herman C. Hudson


Thousands of individuals have helped build Indiana University into the internationally renowned research institution it is today. But few have shaped IU like the late Herman C. Hudson, who was born 100 years ago this month. 

One of IU’s first African American leaders, Dr. Hudson built the foundation for many of the university’s current programs. He founded IU’s Afro-American Studies Department in 1970 while serving as IU vice chancellor for Afro-American affairs.

The department, now known as the Department of African American and African Diaspora Studies, was the second of its kind established in the U.S. and now serves as the center of IU academic programs studying and celebrating Black culture. Dr. Hudson was also integral to the creation of the Black Culture Center during this time, known today as the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center.

In 1971, Dr. Hudson facilitated the development of IU Soul Revue, the first performance-based collegiate ensemble in the country. His efforts, alongside executive director Lillian Dunlap, laid the foundation for establishing the African American Arts Institute (AAAI) and two more ensembles: African American Dance Company and African American Choral Ensemble.

AAAI is the nation’s only program managing ensembles dedicated to the performance of Black music and dance for academic credit. All three groups have concerts this spring.

Recognizing the need for stronger recruitment of minority students, Dr. Hudson helped establish the Minority Achievers Program. Renamed the Hudson & Holland Scholars Program, it is the largest merit-based scholarship program at IU, with over 2,200 students currently enrolled. He led similar efforts to improve the hiring and retention of minority and underrepresented faculty and administrators.

Herman Hudson’s commitment to IU was unwavering, and his legacy is visible every day in the achievements of our students, faculty, and staff. In honor of his 100th birthday, a series of events and activities on the IU Bloomington campus will pay tribute to his leadership in opening the doors of opportunity to so many who have contributed to the success of IU and beyond.


Pamela Whitten

Indiana University

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