University of Arkansas lobbyist Richard Hudson, who hosts the popular Political Animals Club of Northwest Arkansas speaker series, is retiring on July 31, according to a university news release.
Hudson, whose title is vice chancellor for government and community relations, was hired at the university in 1994 and has worked under three chancellors, according to the news release.
Current Chancellor G. David Gearhart said Hudson’s “wealth of knowledge will be hard if not impossible to replace.”
“He is well known for his integrity, honesty and work ethic,” Gearhart said. “He is highly respected by our federal lawmakers, by members of the General Assembly and the governor’s office, as well as by community and civic leaders across Arkansas. He has enjoyed a brilliant career, and it has been my absolute pleasure to work with him. I wish him a wonderful retirement.”
Under Hudson’s direction, the Political Animals Club of Northwest Arkansas has met in Fayetteville since 1996 and has hosted more than 100 political speakers.
Most speakers appear at a breakfast meeting that routinely attracts dozens of attendees, but recently hosted Gov. Mike Beebe at a rare luncheon meeting.
In the news release, Beebe said Hudson “has always conducted his business with tact and a touch of humor.”
“I know he’ll make the most of his well-earned retirement,” Beebe said.
In his role as lobbyist, Hudson has driven 442,000 miles from Fayetteville to the Capitol in Little Rock, or “the equivalent of almost 18 times around the earth or to the moon and 85 percent of the way back,” according to the news release.
“I have to thank my wife, Joanna, who has been terrifically supportive and very tolerant of my frequent travel schedule,” said the 69-year-old Hudson. “It has truly been a privilege to be part of the University of Arkansas family, and I’ll miss working with my colleagues, as well as with legislators and other state and national officials. On the other hand, when I went to my 50th high school reunion in Warren last year, I was one of only two still working. This feels like the right time.”