Grover M. Hudson, died at home in East Lansing on June 13, 2022, age 82, after battling cancer. Hudson was Professor Emeritus of Linguistics at Michigan State University, where from 1979-2007 he taught courses on phonology, historical linguistics, other topics in linguistics, and the Ethiopian languages. His wealth of knowledge and his generosity and compassion were adored by his students.

Grover Hudson was born on June 8, 1940, in Fort Worth, Texas, the son of Joe Milton Hudson and Jeanette Izella Hudson He grew up in Fort Worth, Texas. After graduating from Arlington State College with a BA in English, he joined the Peace Corps. From September 1963 to June 1965 in the earliest years of the Peace Corps in Ethiopia, he taught grades 3, 4, 7, 8, 11 at Ras Desta School, in Yirgalem, Ethiopia and courses in English at the nationally famous secondary school in this provincial capital in Sidamo in southern Ethiopia.

On returning to the U.S., he enrolled in graduate school at UCLA (1965-1967), earning an MA in Linguistics and a Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) certificate. He then returned to Ethiopia and from 1967-1969 taught English at Haile Selassie I University (now Addis Ababa University), the nation’s premier institution, before enrolling in a PhD program in linguistics at UCLA, where he completed his doctorate after additional field research in Ethiopia (1972-1973).

Over the course of his career, he published in a broad range of linguistics topics, especially phonology, historical linguistics, Amharic language and linguistics, and Ethiopian languages (both Semitic and Cushitic). He was a prolific scholar. His long list of publications includes six co-authored books, six edited book volumes and special journal issues, and more than 100 journal articles, book chapters, book reviews, and notes.

Before beginning at Michigan State University (MSU) in 1979, he also taught at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale (1974-75), Ain Shams University (Cairo, 1975-77), Alexandria University (1976), the University of Texas-Austin (1977), and San Diego State University (1978-79).

At MSU, Hudson was part of the foundation of what became one of the largest programs of African Languages and Area Studies in the U.S. with a major focus on Ethiopian Studies, a growing Ethiopian collection at the MSU Library, and an extensive partnership with faculty at Addis Ababa University. He served in many academic and administrative positions at MSU and participated in the MSU/U.S. AID project to install the first printing press at Addis Ababa University. This allowed the university to print textbooks locally rather than purchasing expensive foreign texts. Hudson mentored many Ph.D. students from US universities coming to study Amharic language and Ethiopian culture with him in both summer intensive and academic year programs including faculty and students from Historically Black Universities and El Colegio de México, both seeking to build new partnerships with Ethiopia and its higher education institutions. Hudson also directed Amharic language courses in three Peace Corps training programs for Ethiopia. In Ethiopia, Hudson was honored with an appointment as a fellow in the Ethiopian Academy of Sciences, the nation’s most prestigious scholarly association.

Grover Hudson was a quiet friend of many colleagues and students and of Ethiopians and people in all walks of life. He was a strong supporter of progressive causes, including for relief and development in Africa and faculty governance in the U.S., serving as President of the MSU chapter of American Association of University Professors.

Grover Hudson is survived by his wife, Mutsuko Endo Hudson in East Lansing, MI and a sister, Karyn Draper in Azle, Texas. Plans for a tree-planting memorial at MS Uin his honor will be announced later. Those wishing to honor Grover Hudson may make a tax-exempt contribution to the MSU African Studies Center Endowment Fund, 100 International Center, Shaw Lane, MSU, East Lansing, MI 48824-1035

Publications & Media

Over the course of his career, he published in a broad range of linguistics topics, especially phonology, historical linguistics, Amharic language and linguistics, and Ethiopian languages (both Semitic and Cushitic). He was a prolific scholar. His long list of publications includes six co-authored books, six edited book volumes and special journal issues, and more than 100 journal articles, book chapters, book reviews, and notes.

– David S. Wiley and Joseph J. Lauer, African Studies Center, Michigan State University