Hudson G. Stoddard (7 November 1922 - )
Stoddard was born in Bronxville, New York. His Nebraska-born father was educated at the University of Nebraska and, after becoming a public school superintendent. attended Columbia University's Teachers College for his graduate degrees. He then became a superintendent of schools in various cities: Bronxville, New York; Schenectady, New York; Providence, Rhode Island; Denver, Colorado; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and Los Angeles, California. In addition, before and after retirement, he served on a number of Ford Foundation projects during the several years they worked with the public schools in the United States. One area of involvement led to the beginnings of educational television. Another non-Ford adventure of Stoddard's was that of serving on the U. S. Commission to revise the Japanese educational system after World War II.
Stoddard moved with his parents and was schooled in the cities in which his father was superintendent. He then attended Princeton, graduating in 1944 from its School of Public and International Affairs (now called the Woodrow Wilson School). For physical reasons (a bad ear), he was not draftable into the Army but joined the State Department as a diplomatic courier, being sent to various countries in South America and then in Europe. Upon being based in Paris, he traveled to various European capitals as they were liberated by the Allies.
At the End of World War II
At the end of World War II, Stoddard worked for 15 years for Time Inc., being assigned as a promoter of the company's various magazines. Most of his work was with Life but also he worked with Time and the over-all company. In 1961, he left magazines and spent six months planning and running the 50th anniversary of the New York Public Library at Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street. He worked at Lincoln Center as head of development in the launching phase, successfully helping them reach their $150 million goal. He then joined the city's new Channel 13 in its first year as their development head. For the next 23 years he helped in the station's growth to become a leading Public Broadcasting station.
Stoddard, a Presbyterian, retired in 1987 from both Channel 13 and from commuting by train from New Canaan, Connecticut, where with his wife, Pat (Lovejoy) Stoddard, they raised a daughter (Jane) and two sons (Daniel and Alex). During his commuting years, Pat from 1968 to 1979 taught English and social studies at the New Canaan Country School, then became assistant in nearby Stamford, Connecticut, to the Chief Executive Office of Champion International Paper Company.
New Canaan Activities
In New Canaan, Connecticut, Stoddard has been active in community affairs. He served on the school board for eight years as its chairman. He later served a term on the Town Council and chaired the library's annual Atwood Lecture Series, which in 2007 is in its fifteenth year.
The United Nations Day Committee
Much of his volunteer time has been spent serving on New Canaan's United Nations Day Committee, one that oversees the annual observance of UN Day (October 23rd), working to remind the town of the UN and its key role in United States foreign affairs. In some years, the committee also ran special projects involving the UN. One of its campaigns was to goad the United States - especially Congress - to pay its overdue financial dues for the UN's support. "We figured the per person debt was $2.60, and we urged everyone - especially Congress - to pay up," he told an interviewer. "It did happen - largely because of a change in Congressional personnel - but our efforts, we felt, helped heighten public concerns."
Other special ventures included a campaign to finance the de-mining of a district in Cambodia, the scene of massive devastation over a period of years; also a celebration of the United Nation Committee's 50 years, which enabled the honoring of several individuals and organizations in the community in a program called "New Canaan's Eyes on the World." Included was the preparation of an 8-foot file, an archive of New Canaan's international involvement over the half century, which was later presented to the New Canaan Historical Society. The source of the archival contents was the gleanings of such international items in some 3000 issues of the town's weekly newspaper, the New Canaan Advertiser.
Another recent special project, now ongoing in 2007, he told Philosopedia's Warren Allen Smith,
- has been the sponsorship of two schools for girls in northeastern Afghanistan. Girls in that country, during the Taliban era, were terrible victims having gone as much as four years without any schooling. Our effort is to enable them to catch up as much as can be accomplished in two years. After that, by agreement of the current government, they are to be worked into the now on-going Afghan education system as appropriately as possible by grade level and, hopefully, end up with a decent education. Because affairs are now still uncertain in that country, the future prospects for our schools are difficult to predict. At least our twon schools will have brought better lives to several hundred young women.
Stoddard in 2008 lives with his wife in New Canaan, Connecticut. His son-in-law, Brian Williams the news anchor and Managing Editor of NBC Nightly News, also lives in New Canaan with his wife, Jane Stoddard Williams.