Hudson Taylor was born to Carl and Eva May Armerding on June 21, 1918, in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where his father was engaged in itinerant Bible-teaching ministry among the Plymouth Brethren in the area.
Hudson was the oldest of five children and was followed by Evangeline Louise, Helen Winifred, and Geraldine May, a child had died in infancy. According to Paul Bechtel, "Young Hudson early developed a love for scouting and camping through his father's absorption in those activities. He also had an early appreciation for the American Indians, many of whom he met through his father's summer conference ministry. At the age of eight Hudson contracted pneumonia, which led to complications requiring an operation to preserve his life."
Armerding wrote that his conversion "resulted from the reading of a Sunday School paper. In this paper was the story of a young man who went to a gospel meeting and filled out a decision card. The paper had a facsimile of the card. I cut it out, completed it, and pinned it to the curtain by my bed. Then I told Mother that if Satan came that night, he would realize that I was a Christian."
In the fall of 1935 the Armerding family sailed for New Zealand, where Carl had again established an itinerant ministry among the Brethren Assemblies. It was here that Armerding stayed until he returned to the United States to attend Wheaton College. In the fall of 1937, while living with relatives in Oak Park, Illinois, Hudson began his freshman year. Armerding participated in many extra-curricular activities while enrolled at Wheaton and eventually graduated with honors in 1941.
From Wheaton, Armerding enrolled in Clark University, receiving a generous scholarship and stipend. With a draft deferment, Armerding was enabled to begin his graduate work in international studies. The continuation of the war caused Armerding to seek an officer's commission, which was denied due to deficiencies that Armerding was sure to overcome. A day before graduation from Clark in May 1942, Armerding was sworn into the Navy, where he served time on the heavy cruiser U.S.S. Wichita.
While home on his first leave in 1943, Armerding met his wife Miriam Bailey, an instructor in Wheaton's Conservatory, whom he would marry on his second leave in 1944. After his discharge from the Navy, Armerding enrolled in the University of Chicago, from which he was graduated with a Ph.D. in Asian History in 1948, during which time he also taught part-time at Wheaton. After his graduation he accepted a position at Gordon College on the history faculty. In 1952 he was promoted to acting-dean and subsequently dean, a position he held until 1959. Armerding also served as acting-president upon the death of Gordon's president, T. Leonard Lewis.
Upon the installation of a new president at Gordon, which was attended by V. Raymond Edman, Armerding was invited to take a position on the history faculty at Wheaton. Dr. Edman gave his former student assistant many academic projects upon his return to Wheaton. The position of Provost was created in 1962 and was filled by Hudson Armerding. He held this position until his ascension to the presidency of Wheaton College in 1965. Armerding held that position until 1982, leading Wheaton College through many years of growth.
College Presidents >