OU names college of public health in honor of Hudsons

Adam Troxtell / The Transcript

OU President James Gallogly, center, unveils the Hudson College of Public Health with Dr. Leslie and Clifford Hudson, right, Dean Dr. Gary E. Raskob, left, and Senior Vice President and Provost of the OU Health Science Center Dr. Jason R. Sanders, back, at the public health college Tuesday in Oklahoma City.

OKLAHOMA CITY -- The University of Oklahoma has named its college of public health after the Hudson family, which has given the university millions over the years to enhance its education effort in this field.

The Hudson College of Public Health became official Tuesday during a symposium on the benefits of public health efforts. Dr. Leslie and Clifford Hudson were there to receive the honor announced by President James Gallogly.

"Today, we're proud to announce another multimillion gift from the Hudsons," Gallogly said. "They're investing in the training and future of the public health scientists of tomorrow. In honor of their generosity, the board of regents has approved my request to name the Hudson College of Public Health at the University of Oklahoma."

The Hudson's leadership gift of $5 million will be used to fund scholarships and scientific discovery in the college of public health. In 2013, the Hudson family gifted $1 million to start the Hudson Family Endowed Scholarship for students working in biostatistics and epidemiology.

"We feel like we're investing in our very greatest resource: human capital," Leslie Hudson said. "The graduates of this program will go to public health care programs to improve people's health and to improve the public's health across the nation."

Two years later, another $1 million gift launched the Hudson Fellows program, which is what brought a crowd to the college on the Health Sciences Center campus Tuesday. The Hudson Fellows Symposium was presented by Dr. Howard K. Koh, Harvard University professor of the practice of public health leadership.

"Health is much more than what happens to you in a doctor's office," Koh said. "Where you live is important, where you work is important, where you worship is important, your family support structure is important. Health starts where people live, labor, learn, play and pray."

Koh detailed taking health care as an all-inclusive idea, not something that simply takes place in a hospital or doctor's office. Business has an important role in this, he argued, and it's this new idea that is taking hold in public health education right now.

"We need leaders from business to be more involved in the so-called culture of health," Koh said. "Most people spend most of their day at work. Shouldn't we be trying to make the work environment as healthy as possible?"

Gallogly continued on that in his brief address before announcing the name change. He asked Sooners to ask questions like "What if?" and "Why not?" when considering how public health could improve the lives of others.

"Why not do something about these things?" Gallogly said. "Why not get involved, figure out a better way to improve everyone's well-being? Why not make sure every one of those seeds flourishes and has an opportunity, regardless of the circumstances? Why not?"

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