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Armerding, Hudson T.



  • Existence: 1918-2009

Biographical Statement

Hudson Taylor Armerding was born to Carl and Eva Mae Taylor Armerding in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on June 21, 1918. He and his three younger sisters were raised in Albuquerque, Dallas, and San Diego. During Hudson’s childhood, his father served Native American communities and was an itinerant preacher in the American Southwest.

In 1937, he began his undergraduate studies at Wheaton College, graduating in 1941 with a degree in history. Fellow students regarded him as an outstanding scholar and campus leader. Hudson went on to earn a master's degree in International Affairs from Clark University Worcester, Massachusetts, in 1942. The day before graduation, he was sworn into the United States Navy.

For three years during World War II, Armerding served on the USS Wichita, a heavy cruiser in the Pacific Theater. This experience shaped him; his awareness of God’s guidance and protection endured throughout his life.

The Wichita participated in 11 naval engagements, including the invasion of Okinawa. During his service in the Pacific, Armerding was promoted to Senior Grade Lieutenant. After Japan surrendered in August 1945, Armerding and his unit liberated a prisoner of war camp south of Nagasaki.

While serving in the Navy, Armerding spent time on leave in Wheaton, Illinois, with his parents. His father was then serving on the advisory board of the Central American Mission and was on the Bible faculty at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago.

On these visits home, Hudson courted Miriam Lucille Bailey, a 1942 Wheaton graduate and faculty member of the Wheaton College Conservatory of Music. Miriam was celebrated for her exquisite voice and had opera training in New York City. The two corresponded while Armerding was in the Navy. They were married on December 26, 1944 while he was on a short leave from the Wichita.

After the war, he returned home to his wife and attended the University of Chicago, earning a Ph.D. in history in 1948.

After graduating from the University of Chicago, Dr. and Mrs. Armerding resolved to serve as missionaries in China. The couple, already the parents of two young children, moved to Boston to study Chinese at Harvard University. The Armerdings’ plan, however, was blocked when in October 1949 the People’s Republic of China was established, and the Armerdings’ sponsoring mission withdrew staff from the newly Communist country.

When he heard of the Armerdings’ obstructed plans, the president of nearby Gordon College in Wenham, Massachusetts invited both Dr. and Mrs. Armerding to join Gordon’s faculty. Dr. Armerding joined the history faculty; his wife became a music professor there.

While at Gordon College, Dr. Armerding joined the Naval Reserve, retiring in 1966 at the rank of Commander.

After a semester of teaching at Gordon, Dr. Armerding was asked to serve as acting dean of the college – an appointment that soon became permanent. For a time, he served as acting president of the college as well.

While he was acting president, Dr. Armerding met then Wheaton College president, Dr. V. Raymond Edman. Dr. Edman asked Dr. Armerding to return to Wheaton to join the history faculty.

About a year after accepting the position at Wheaton, Dr. Armerding was asked to become the College’s first provost. Two years later, he was inaugurated as Wheaton’s fifth president, serving from 1965-1982.

During his tenure as president, Dr. Armerding established the Faith and Learning Seminar, in which Wheaton faculty continue to participate to this day. Faculty members from that era remember an intellectually rigorous president who grew the College’s enrollment.

During the difficult years of the Vietnam War, Dr. Armerding wrestled with the challenges of leading a college community. He worked, despite his military background, to accept with grace those students who protested the war.

During his tenure, a new library, science building, and the Billy Graham Center were constructed on Wheaton College’s campus.

An ordained teaching elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Dr. Armerding wrote countless sermons, commencement addresses, and articles during his tenure at Wheaton and throughout the course of his life. He authored A Word to the Wise (Tyndale House Publishers, 1980), The Heart of Godly Leadership (Crossway Books, 1992), and The Hand of God (Wheaton College, 2004).

Dr. Armerding served as the President of National Association of Evangelicals (1970-72) and President of the World Evangelical Fellowship. He was Director of the American Association of Presidents of Independent Colleges and Universities; Chairman of the Board, Columbia International University; and Executive Committee member, Christian College Consortium. He also served on the U.S. Council of the Overseas Missionary Fellowship and was on the Board of the Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri.

In 1997, the National Association of Evangelicals presented Dr. Armerding with the J. Elwin Wright Award for his contributions to “evangelical cooperation through international and national efforts.”

In 1985, Dr. Armerding was diagnosed with lymphoma. After multiple treatments his cancer went into remission, and for the last 18 years of his life, Dr. Armerding remained cancer-free.

From 1985-1999, Dr. Armerding served as the vice president of the Quarryville Presbyterian Retirement Community in Pennsylvania, where he and Miriam Armerding resided. He was counselor in residence there until 2006, when he moved to Windsor Park Manor Retirement Community in Carol Stream, Illinois. Hudson T. Armerding died on December 1, 2009 and was preceded in death by his wife of 62 years, Miriam Bailey Armerding, on July 1, 2006.

Dr. Armerding was survived by his five children, Carreen Smith ’68; Hudson Taylor II ’70; Paul ’75; Miriam Swisher ’76; and Jonathan ’79; as well as 18 grandchildren and 8 great-grandchildren.

Found in 4 Collections and/or Records:

Baccalaureate Address - Hudson T. Armerding

 Digital Record
Identifier: 746-7
Dates: Digitized: 1974

MEM | Hudson T. Armerding Memorabilia

Identifier: 2010-1005

Office of the President Records (Hudson T. Armerding)

Identifier: RG-02-005
Scope and Contents Records of the President Hudson T. Armerding include subject files, correspondence, sermons, writings, budget and committee materials.
Dates: Created: 1927-2014; Other: Majority of material found in 1963-1982

Office of the Provost Records (Hudson T. Armerding)

Identifier: RG-03-001
Scope and Contents Records of the Office of the Provost include departmental ten-year reviews, faculty grant information, faculty notices, academic committee minutes and correspondence.
Dates: Created: 1952-1965; Other: Majority of material found in 1963-1965