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Wilda G. (Burch) Hudson

Photo of Wilda G. (Burch) Hudson
Categories: 2012 Alumnae, Community Service, Public Service


As a very active and public member of the League of Women Voters, then serving as its Anchorage president, Wilda Hudson was appointed in 1967 to the Anchorage City Council. She was the third woman to serve on the Council, and she went on to become the first woman presiding officer of any Anchorage governmental body. With the formation of the Alaska Public Offices Commission in 1974, Hudson became its assistant executive director moving into the director position in 1976 and serving there until 1977. In 1975 and working with the League of Women Voters and others, she worked to pass unification of the city and borough to create the Municipality of Anchorage. Between 1977 and 1981, she served as director of cultural and recreation services under Mayor George Sullivan. In 2000 she was selected by the Anchorage Assembly to fill a vacancy on their body and became the sixth woman on that body, the only time in history where women served in the majority.

Hudson has a long history of professional and community involvement. She was appointed in February 1967 to the Anchorage City Council to fill a vacancy, then elected October 1967 to a one-year term and elected again 1968 and 1971 to three-year terms. Hudson also served concurrently on the Greater Anchorage Area Borough Assembly, appointed by her fellow council members to represent the City of Anchorage. A former GAAB Public Works Director Butch West said of Hudson: “Unlike some of the other appointees to the Anchorage Assembly, Wilda always took positions that were in the best interest of all residents in the community, not just those who lived within the city limits.” Alaska political disclosure became law through a ballot initiative in 1974 and the Alaska Public Offices Commission was formed with Hudson serving as the assistant director for the first two years. She was then promoted to the director in 1976. With her vision for parks, libraries, streets, schools and utilities, she worked tirelessly with others to make the Anchorage community a better place in which to live. Mayor George Sullivan selected her as his director of Cultural and Recreation Services overseeing the municipality’s parks, museum, libraries and cemetery where she served from 1977 through 1981. In July 2000 she was appointed to fill a vacancy on the Anchorage Assembly with the understanding that she would not run for election.

In 1991 Hudson was honored as a member of the second YWCA’s Academy of Women Achievers.

Hudson is one of three people who started the Anchorage Library Foundation, which works to secure private and public support for Anchorage public libraries’ long-term financial needs. She is a member of the Alaska World Affairs Council, and served as its hospitality committee chair for several years. She is a member of Alaska Common Ground, which focuses on respectful discussion of public policy issues. A certified parliamentarian, Hudson has provided parliamentary advice to public, non-profit or private organizations and has conducted classes for local legislative bodies and various boards. Much of this service was done as a volunteer.
The League of Women Voters has received more than a half century of Hudson’s leadership. She has served as treasurer and president of both the Anchorage and Alaska groups numerous times. Through this involvement, she has taken many women under her wing, taught parliamentary procedure and provided advice on how to negotiate municipal, state and political roadblocks. She served as a role model and mentor to many women, both young and old, seeking to be engaged in the civil discourse of Anchorage. She always has been eager to make introductions and pave the way for new generations of women leaders.

Long-time friend and co-volunteer Wilda Marston says of Hudson: “She is a true, blue human being, and she pulls no punches with her opinions. She’s a good friend.”

Hudson served as the campaign treasurer for both of Arliss Sturgulewski’s gubernatorial campaigns in 1986 and 1990. She also served as the Alaska Republican Party’s accountant for a number of years.

Hudson and her former husband, Walt, came to Alaska – both worked for the Corp of Engineers after World War II – and lived in Delta Junction, Juneau, Sitka, Kodiak and, eventually, in 1956 they settled in Anchorage. They owned and operated Rapid Reproduction and Hudson ran the business end of the company. Soon, their only child, Doris, was born. She now has three grandchildren: Matthew, Peter and Amy, all living in California.

Induction ceremony acceptance speech