June 7, 2015 GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Linda Parker Hudson has a legacy of leadership. One of only two pioneering women to graduate with a degree in systems engineering from the University of Florida in 1972, Hudson went on to become the first female CEO in the defense industry, managing 40,000 employees and bringing in $12.75 billion in annual revenue at BAE Systems, Inc. Now, she’s back on the UF campus, launching a new program.
The Linda Parker Hudson Leader in Residence Program in Engineering will bring prominent leaders from technology, academia, public policy and research to the UF campus, offering multiple opportunities for engineering students to have direct and in-depth interaction and mentorship. The program is seen as a further boost to the UF Engineering Leadership Institute and its curriculum.
“This program falls directly in line with our vision to develop engineers who are technically knowledgeable, innovative, and prepared to lead,” said Cammy Abernathy, dean of the UF College of Engineering. “We are grateful to have this program in place for future generations. Leadership is becoming definitive of our culture here at the college, even more so now thanks to Linda’s gift and the exemplary legacy that she is lending.”
In 2014, after retiring from BAE Systems, Inc., as the President and CEO, Hudson founded The Cardea Group, where she consults top-level executives from all around the world on adaptive strategies and organizational transitions and transformations. She also serves as a on the boards of the Bank of America, Southern Company and Ingersoll Rand.
“I am largely who I am today because of my education and experience at the University of Florida College of Engineering,” Hudson said. “Building on my ongoing support for the UF Engineering Leadership Institute and Dean Abernathy’s transformational vision, this gift will help address our world’s critical need for nurturing and mentoring effective and ethical leaders. I believe our future depends on their development, and I am passionate about accomplished leaders sharing their knowledge and experiences with younger generations.”
UF plays a significant role as a major growth center for innovation and as a driver for the state of Florida – and for overall U.S. economies – through research and education advancement, as well as workforce and business development. The UF Engineering Leadership Institute has programs and curriculum in place that focus on creating leaders for a world where technology and innovative thinking converge, and science and humanities collide.
Hudson received an honorary doctorate in science from UF in December 2014. She is also active in the alumni and athletic associations and serves on advisory boards for the College of Engineering. She is a UF Distinguished Alumnus, and a member of the Industrial and Systems Engineering Hall of Fame.