Charlie Wood

Charlie Wood ’72, ’73MEd grew up in a small town in New Hampshire and had only 50 or 60 students in his high school class. He thinks he might have gotten lost in the crowd at a large state college, so he’s glad his application wasn’t accepted. “I came to Plymouth State instead, and it was the best thing that ever happened to me,” Wood says. “They give extra attention. You’re not a number. Everyone, from the professors to the people in food service to secretaries, take a special interest and want you to succeed.”

While earning his bachelor’s degree in biology, Wood was a resident assistant, and as a candidate for his master’s in educational administration, he worked as director of a residence hall. During those years at Plymouth State, he also joined the Science Club, made friends, and built strong relationships with professors and even then-President Harold E. Hyde, who Wood connected with while serving as a student trustee of the University System of New Hampshire.

His role as student trustee gave Wood an education that steered him into his 32-year career as an administrator at Radford University in Virginia. Hired in 1974 as director of career counseling and placement, he was almost immediately promoted to assistant to the president. Later, Wood became executive assistant to the president, and when he retired in 2006, he was vice president for university advancement.

Working with students and experiencing commencement each year are high among Wood’s career highlights. “It was very fulfilling work—helping young people succeed,” he says.

In his advancement role, Wood oversaw fundraising and saw alumni creating scholarships in gratitude for their education and telling their stories of success. It moved him to create the Charles A. Wood International Scholarship at Radford. Three years ago, after retiring and reconnecting to PSU by increasing his gifts to the Fund for Plymouth State, he created the Charles A. Wood Scholarship at PSU for a student from his high school in Woodsville, New Hampshire.

It took Wood several years to endow the scholarship, and, this year, it was awarded for the first time. “I donate because I get a good feeling, knowing I’m helping a student,” he says. “I understand the need for student scholarships. That extra money they get from my scholarship enables them to go to Plymouth.”

Wood lives in Winter Haven, Florida, now and has two grown sons and two grandchildren. He encourages all PSU alumni to consider endowing a scholarship. “Everyone should consider giving back to their alma mater to the extent that they can,” he says. “You get a good feeling from doing it. We can help a student who might not otherwise be able to go to college or make it easier for them once they graduate and go into the work force.”