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After graduating from Cambridge in 1960 with a First Class Honors degree in Modern and Medieval Languages, Huddleston earned his PhD in Applied Linguistics from the University of Edinburgh in 1963 under the supervision of Michael Halliday. He held lectureships at the University of Edinburgh, University College London, and the University of Reading. He moved to The University of Queensland in 1969, where he remained for the rest of his career. He was the recipient of the first round of 'Excellence in Teaching' awards at the University of Queensland in 1988. In 1990 he was awarded a Personal Chair. He is currently an Emeritus Professor at the University of Queensland, where he taught until 1997. In 1999, a festschrift volume was produced "by colleagues past and present, friends and admirers of Rodney Huddleston, in order to honour his consistently outstanding contribution to grammatical theory and description": The Clause in English: In Honour of Rodney Huddleston.