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Getting to Know...Dean David Wood

 Dean WoodDr. David Wood, Wofford’s senior vice president and dean of the college, is looking forward to moving this summer as he and his wife, Judy, will relocate to the renovated, century-old Kilgo-Clinkscales House, only 100 yards or so away from his office.

“I suppose we are bucking a trend that for some years has led presidents and deans to live away from their campuses,” Wood says.  “It’s not that we don’t love travel and vacations, but every time I leave my office, I feel that I step out into a rarified atmosphere. The setting offers a combination of people and place that makes working here a vocation rather than a job.  I relish the idea of having a front porch and visiting with passers by.”

Having completed a doctoral degree in higher education administration at Vanderbilt University and serving as the innovative and successful provost at Tusculum College, Wood arrived at Wofford knowing the college by reputation and through friendships with several key administrators, particularly Dr. Danny Morrison (now president of the Carolina Panthers), Dr. Larry McGehee, and then-President Joe Lesesne.  He had also played football against Wofford during his undergraduate days at Elon University.

“I knew that Wofford always had been a place willing to ask the tough questions that all American higher education should be considering,” Wood says.  “There has to be a better way to help our young people prepare themselves for a highly competitive world. We must provide an education of superior quality, with an array of experiences all over the world.”

The immediate challenge that brought Wood to Wofford involved a Division I program of intercollegiate athletics.  At the time, the college had 1,100 students “At first glance, it seemed to be a very bold step,” Wood says, “However, I knew the people who were involved. I was confident that they had studied the situation thoroughly and that we could make it work.

Wood served as vice president and director of athletics from 1997-2001, then as senior vice president from 2001-2007 before becoming the dean of the college in 2007.  During this time, he also added the title of Wofford parent to his resume, as his oldest son, Shiel, was a member of the class of 2005 and twin sons, John and Leland, are members of the class of 2008.

“For anyone who pursues a vocation in higher education, Wofford is a rare opportunity,” Wood says. “We have set out to be a national leader, and that goal is realistic. The great challenge is the same one that faces all independent colleges: How can we provide a world-class liberal arts experience, enhance diversity, hold down costs, and expand financial aid? Our dream is that cost will not be a barrier to any student who wants to take and benefit from all we have to offer.”