A bequest from Mark and Sandy Hudson will provide future support to the Department of Health Administration at the VCU College of Health Professions. Photo: Joe Mahoney

Forks in the Road Led to Success

There are moments in everyone’s life —the proverbial forks in the road — where choices are made, and in the best-case scenarios, those choices turn out to be the right ones. 

For Mark Alan Hudson, those moments opened doors to a life that carried him to the top of a health care system and beyond.

Hudson, a North Carolina resident who grew up in Virginia’s Tidewater region, has included the Department of Health Administration at the VCU College of Health Professions in his estate plans. He also provides annual gifts for the department through a donor-advised fund. 

Mark and Sandy Hudson

Hudson explained that while his early ambitions involved being a city or county manager, those jobs did not materialize following graduation from the University of Virginia in 1975. What was available, however, were jobs within the clinical laboratories at the UVA Health Medical Center. A few promotions later, the field of health administration had piqued his interest. He applied to VCU’s health administration program and was accepted.

Hudson graduated in 1983 and found a home at a small hospital system in North Carolina, where he would spend more than two decades before retiring as executive vice president of Cleveland County Healthcare System, now part of Atrium Health. Following retirement, he established his own consulting company. He is also a published freelance writer and former magazine editor. 

“I was incredibly blessed to get into the program,” Hudson said about the Department of Health Administration at VCU, which is ranked No. 3 among its peers nationally and is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year. “It was both challenging and rewarding, and I never regretted going in that direction.”

He explained that one of the key components of that program is the yearlong residency that provides invaluable hands-on experience. 

“Graduates in health administration carry a lot of clout,” Hudson said. “Within the health care network, employers want MCV graduates. Not just in Virginia, but elsewhere.” 

Hudson said he and his wife, Sandy, were both at a point in their lives where they wanted to give back to the place that shaped their futures. In fact, both had connections to the MCV Campus. While Hudson was working through the health administration program, Sandy Hudson was working at the hospital as a medical technologist.

“You don’t have to be a billionaire to make a difference,” Hudson said. “It doesn’t matter how big or small the gift, just get into the habit of contributing to the causes you care about —make your plans and then formalize them.”

“What matters,” he added, “is that you help as best you can.”

If you would like to support the VCU College of Health Professions, please contact T. Greg Prince, Ed.D., senior director of development, at 804-828-7247 or