Hudson notified Provost Shirley Willihnganz of his intentions this week. He had taken a leave of absence for medical reasons in August.

The Redbook allows deans with faculty appointments and five years’ experience as an administrator to take one year’s leave to retool to return to the faculty. Hudson’s leave will begin Jan. 1, 2013, in anticipation of his return to the faculty in 2014.

Hudson taught history and Pan-African studies classes for years while serving in various administrative posts. He was Pan-African studies department chair from 1998 to 2003 and was an associate A&S dean from 1999 to 2004. He has been in the dean role since 2004, first serving as acting dean before his appointment as a result of a formal search process.

“The college is the heart of the university — with a great faculty, staff and student body,” Hudson said upon his appointment in 2005. “We share knowledge through teaching, create knowledge through research and apply knowledge through service. There is no higher calling and no more important contribution to the future than that.”

“Dean Hudson is an extraordinary leader, and we will miss him,” said Provost Shirley Willihnganz. “He is also an amazing teacher and researcher, so his return to the faculty will be wonderful for our students.”

Hudson has been chair of the Kentucky African American Heritage Commission and has served his native state on many historical, education and civil rights panels. He has received dozens of honors for teaching, research and public service, including the 2002 Martin Luther King Jr. Dream Award from the Louisville mayor’s office and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Louisville Metro Human Relations Commission in 2011.

His research into Kentucky’s African American history has made him a popular speaker, and his publications include the 2011 book “Two Centuries of Black Louisville: A Photographic History,” with Merv Aubespin and Kenneth Clay; “Encyclopedia of the Underground Railroad” in 2006; and the 2002 book, “Fugitive Slaves and the Underground Railroad in the Kentucky Borderland.”

Hudson earned his doctorate in higher education administration at the University of Kentucky and his master’s and bachelor’s degrees from UofL.

John Drees is a 35-year veteran in the Office of Communications and Marketing. As vice president, communications and marketing, he works closely with the president, provost and other senior administrators, oversees the Office of Communications and Marketing, including media relations, marketing and brand, broadcast, social media, internal communication, crisis communication, visitor services and special events and activities. A former sports editor for the Voice Newspapers, he was a regular contributor to a variety of publications, including the Kentucky Sports Report and the Courier-Journal. A poor but enthusiastic golfer, he is an avid Cardinal sports fan. He also loves the Detroit Lions, so pity him.