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George Hudson, longtime professor, study group leader, and university marshal, dies

By Contributing Writer on November 19, 2013
George Hudson

George Hudson, serving as university marshal, leads a procession held during President Jeffrey Herbst’s inauguration weekend in 2010.

George C. Hudson Jr., professor of English emeritus, died at Upstate Medical Center Saturday, November 16, following a long illness.

Hudson was described by colleagues as a “giant at Colgate,” with his contributions to faculty colleagues and to generations of students creating an enduring legacy.

Born in Georgia and educated at Duke and the University of Minnesota where he received his PhD, Hudson taught at Colgate from 1969 until this year.

He championed Colgate’s signature study abroad programs, directing the London English Study Group eight times; leading seven Kyoto Study Groups to Japan; and taking students, three times over, on travel to Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

For many years Hudson also headed the Smithsonian Institution’s Kyoto Seminar and guided hikers on more than a dozen Smithsonian trips in the Swiss and Italian Alps.

At Colgate, he had chaired the Department of English, directed Asian Studies, and acted as university marshal for more than a decade, leading Colgate through all the institution’s defining ceremonies.

Recipient of Colgate’s Alumni Distinguished Teaching Award, the AAUP Teacher of the Year Award, and the Sidney J. and Florence Felten French Award for “Inspirational Teaching,” Hudson was, and is, much loved by students, alumni, and colleagues alike.

He is survived by his wife, Chikako Ikeguchi, his son, George Taro Hudson, and his sister Carolyn Ketter, who have sent their thanks to the community for all its kindnesses.

Honor Hudson’s legacy by contributing to the Professor George Hudson Memorial Scholarship fund.


  • Kevin Alcott ('86) said:

    I was saddened to learn of George Hudson’s passing, he was one of my favorite professors. I have fond memories of his class on “Milton,” and I also remember when he brought the entire class to his house one night for a private lecture on artwork pertaining to “Paradise Lost.” I am so glad that I reached out to him a few years ago to thank him and a few other professors at Colgate for making such a difference in my life. Professor Hudson will be missed.

  • Greg Winston said:

    Professor Hudson taught me about seventeenth-century British poetry and Japan. In and out of class, he exemplified those qualities of intellectual rigor, scholarly curiosity, and intercultural awareness that embody the humanities and liberal education. Like so many others who have left there comments here, I owe so much to his thoughtful approach and shining example, including my decision to follow the academic path.

  • Nicole St.Jean, 1998 said:

    Professor Hudson, my favorite of all time. I will remember you always.
    I hope you’re enjoying a pint at The Plume of Feathers.

    O Rare Ben Jonson.

  • Wendy Morris said:

    Two things you may or may not know about George Hudson. He religiously sent books to his sister and he liked potted meat – he said eating it reminded him of his childhood. I miss him.

  • Sophia D'Addio said:

    The very first Colgate classroom in which I set foot was George Hudson’s— both during April Visit Days (his course on Milton) and during my first semester as a freshman (Introduction to Poetry). Thereafter I decided to major in English, and he became my advisor. His gentle demeanor and keen insight continued to impress me throughout my time at Colgate, and I always enjoyed stopping by his office just to say hello. I last saw George three years ago, and he was eager to hear about my progress in graduate school, as I had recently begun my PhD; he was one of the professors who inspired me to choose this path. Rest in peace, dear teacher, mentor, and friend.

    Kono michi ya
    Yuku hito nashi ni
    Aki no kure

    [Along this road
    No one is traveling
    In the autumn darkness]

    —Matsuo Basho (1644-1694)

  • Victoria Capehart '06 said:

    I cannot begin to express what a wonderful teacher, mentor, and friend George was. I was lucky enough to be George’s student and frequent bar companion, and I think I learned more from him than anyone (in both situations). George’s warmth, fearsome intellect, and kindness are what I will remember most about him. I am a teacher today in part because of his example; we’ve lost a great one.

  • Carole And Den Kelly said:

    We will always remember good old times spent together George. You will be dearly missed by many. RIP Professor George. Our deepest sympathy to Chikako and Taro.

  • Liz Walcott said:

    I was so devastated to learn of Professor Hudson’s passing. He was the smartest and most inspirational person I’ve ever encountered, and I consider myself incredibly lucky to have been one of his students. The Colgate community will never be the same without him.

  • Richard Samuels said:

    George Hudson inspired us to ask big questions and, importantly, to hear others’ answers. We listened to blues records, wondered aloud about our government’s Asian war, spoke of poetry and the prospects for literature in the Everglades, and we each found something special in Japan. George seemed to know everything and, thankfully, he seemed to suffer this fool gladly. I became a teacher because George was my teacher– and I always think of him when I meet a classroom of students for the first time. And I always will. Oh how I wish I had kept in better touch.

    — Dick Samuels ’73

  • Evan LeBon said:

    Colgate has lost a giant. He was not only the Colgate University marshal, but also the Colgate University spirit. He taught, he loved, he explored, and he cared. George was a model for us all. He will be missed.

  • Rebecca Katz said:

    How terrible to lose you, Papa Bear, but how wonderful to have loved and been loved by you, dear friend.

    John Donne.



    Death, be not proud, though some have called thee
    Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so ;
    For those, whom thou think’st thou dost overthrow,
    Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
    From rest and sleep, which but thy picture[s] be,
    Much pleasure, then from thee much more must flow,
    And soonest our best men with thee do go,
    Rest of their bones, and soul’s delivery.
    Thou’rt slave to Fate, chance, kings, and desperate men,
    And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell,
    And poppy, or charms can make us sleep as well,
    And better than thy stroke ; why swell’st thou then ?
    One short sleep past, we wake eternally,
    And Death shall be no more ; Death, thou shalt die.

  • Ali Watts said:

    My heart positively dropped when I saw this… As my major professor, study group leader, and frequent dinner party guest, Professor Hudson had a huge impact on my time at Colgate and afterwards. I can’t help feeling that the world is a much less interesting, adventurous, and warm-hearted place now that he’s left it.

  • Lisa Hillenbrand said:

    RIP George. You will live on in the lives of those you taught, mentored and inspired over a long passion and learning filled career and life.