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Bob Hudson: New French & Italian Department Chair

Professor Daryl Lee completes his service as the French & Italian Department chair this summer.

Photo by David John Arnett

Professor Bob Hudson (French Renaissance Poetry and Culture) will become the new chair of the French & Italian Department in July 2024 as Professor Daryl Lee (19th-Century French Culture and Literature) steps down after six years of dedicated service. Hudson enthusiastically embraces his new role, determined to continue the hard work of those who came before him.

As Hudson steps into this position, he hopes his own unique skills and experiences will help him contribute to the ongoing success of the department. He recalls growing up in Arkansas and Kentucky, where, as a descendant of sharecroppers, he learned the “sound principles of working with your head down, weathering the storms, making hay when the sun shines, and remaining optimistic.” These values have helped mold his life and character, and he hopes they will guide him in his new role as French & Italian Department chair. He says, “I feel my upbringing offers a unique, fresh perspective. There is more of a folk humor in the South, with ‘cracker-barrel’ wit and wisdom that I think might resonate well.”

With these tools, Hudson plans to champion the importance of language learning and help his students and colleagues fulfill BYU’s role as “ambassadors to the faith.” Using President Spencer W. Kimball’s Second Century Address as a guide, Hudson intends to emphasize becoming bilingual in the language of the spirit and in foreign language. He adds, “I am fortunate to follow in the wake of more than a decade of diligent, meaningful leadership by my predecessors. My hope is to help us continue that trajectory and that positive spirit of camaraderie and collegiality.”

As Hudson welcomes this new position, he looks forward to tackling each challenge with a love for his department colleagues and a resilience instilled in him by his Southern upbringing. Along with this, Hudson remains optimistic about what he can do as department chair. He says, “As humanists, our main objective is to celebrate and bring attention to the best parts of humankind. As a department chair, I endeavor to enable my colleagues to do just that—in their teaching, research, and university and church citizenship.”