Frank Van Nuys, Professor of History and Interim Head, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences
The sudden passing of our colleague Dr. Michael Hudgens on Thanksgiving night last November caught us off-guard. For more than three decades, Michael had been a quiet but steady presence in the Humanities and Social Sciences department, teaching our philosophy courses as well as technical communications and various humanities offerings. While his many friends on the floor retired one after the other, Michael demonstrated no desire to leave a job he clearly loved, even at the age of 83.
What we all began to learn about Michael in the days leading up to his funeral left us amazed. He played jazz piano in nightclubs (C’mon!). He worked for the CIA in Algeria in the early 1960s (What? Really?). He directed TV shows in Houston (Huh?). As a newspaper reporter, he hung out with and interviewed Muhammad Ali during his trial for draft evasion (No way!). He was an avid HAM radio enthusiast (Cool!) The list goes on.
To honor Michael’s thirty-one years at South Dakota Mines, we offer this series of reminiscences by family, friends, colleagues, and students. For me, I recall fondly his reaching out to Janet and me not too long after our return to Rapid City and, later, his acceptance of invitations to have Thanksgiving with our family. He and Sue were early and avid encouragers of our daughter Maya’s academic and musical ambitions. Overall, Michael was synonymous with constancy in his teaching and devotion to lifelong learning. We will miss you on the third floor “cul-de-sac” and around campus. Be at peace, my friend.