Called to Serve
Wood is ready to hit the road as the new senior vice president for development. Why did he decide to switch from serving the college as provost to a new role in the development office? The short answer… because the president asked.
“David Wood is the ultimate team player,” says President Nayef H. Samhat. “He has filled lots of roles at the college depending on the need at the time. Now we need his experience in the area of development and the relationships he has cultivated over the years to help continue Wofford’s upward momentum.”
Wood came to Wofford in 1997 to serve as vice president and director of athletics, leading the college into its first year of Southern Conference Division I intercollegiate athletics competition. In 2001, he became senior vice president, and in 2007, dean of the college. He was named provost in 2013.
“My approach in every job I’ve been asked to fill at the college has been rooted in the same philosophy – that we’re here to serve,” says Wood. “Working at Wofford is a calling.”
In his new role, Wood says he is most looking forward to reconnecting with alumni, friends and parents of the college. As provost, he says he enjoyed building relationships with students, faculty and staff. Now he turns outward.
“We have a great story to tell, and we’re telling it to people who already love Wofford,” says Wood. “My focus is on keeping our constituents connected, involved and interested in the important work we do at the college.”
Step one on Wood’s agenda will be visiting Wofford supporters, and he won’t be alone. According to Wood, the college’s newly inaugurated president will be with him as much as possible.
“Making sure people know what’s going on and engaged in the mission of educating the citizen leaders of tomorrow is first, second and last on the agenda,” says Wood. “Ultimately giving and volunteer service to the college will flow from that involvement.”
Wood firmly believes that now more than ever before our nation needs liberal arts colleges and the types of global citizens with the ability to think critically and communicate effectively that Wofford produces. The college’s new strategic planning process is designed to identify new initiatives and programs that will continue to strengthen Wofford’s mission and make the college even more distinctive. Although long-range funding priorities will come out of this plan, Wood says several needs are either ongoing or have pushed their way to the top of the list. Those include building participation in the Annual Fund, reconstruction of the Greek Row and significant renovation and expansion of the college’s Sandor Teszler Library.
“Private, higher education is costly, but worth it,” says Wood. “Wofford can only thrive with the help and generosity of those who love, care about us and understand the importance of what we do.”
Under Wood’s umbrella as senior vice president of development are: the offices of Alumni and Parents Programs, Annual Giving (including the Unrestricted Annual Fund, Terrier Club and Friends of the Library), Fund Development, Donor Relations, Foundation and Corporate Relations, Gift Planning, and Grant Writing. That means Wood and his wife, Judy, will be in the center of Homecoming, Family Weekend and regional alumni events. They’ll be cheering on the Terriers both at home and away and will be thanking constituents at volunteer leadership meetings and events. Wood will be the person to talk with about establishing endowed scholarships, building corporate partnerships or starting a fundraising or participation challenge, and he’s eager for all of it.
“We have so many people to thank and so many Wofford success stories to share,” says Wood. “I’m ready to get out there and get started.”
Wiseman to serve as interim provost
Dr. Dennis M. Wiseman, previously dean of the Center for Innovation and Learning and the Reeves Family Professor of Foreign Languages, has been appointed interim provost, effective July 1.
Wiseman has taught French, advised students, chaired the department, led the college’s institutional effectiveness and accreditation initiatives and served as a dean – all roles that have allowed him to view the college through a variety of windows.
“There aren’t too many people who know all of the moving parts,” says Wiseman. “I don’t claim to know all of them, but I do know whom to ask. Serving as provost will be a voyage of discovery, and I was much surprised and gratified when President Samhat asked me to serve. I will… as well as possible.”
Wiseman came to Wofford in 1979. He and his colleagues in the Department of Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures have helped the college grow into one of the country’s top undergraduate institutions with a reputation for successful study abroad programs and the development of global citizens. Now internationally respected for his expertise in the field, Wiseman has been called to present at national and international conferences. His job as provost may keep him on campus a bit more, but he looks forward to the new challenge.
“I’d say the greatest challenge of this job will be the reasonable management of expectation and pace,” says Wiseman. “We have a really ambitious, young and interconnected faculty that wants to make the undergraduate experience the best that it can be for our students, but we can’t do it all today. We’re going to have to work to identify the major thematic learning outcomes that will make the greatest impact on our community and that we can support well over time.”
By Jo Ann Mitchell Brasington ’89