After obtaining his Ph.D. in Chemistry at UC Davis in the early ‘80s, Wood briefly taught at a small school in Northern Idaho. The University eventually asked him to come back and he started to teach introductory-level chemistry.
Wood then found a calling for advising, and through the years held the positions of associate dean of Undergraduate Advising in the College of Letters and Sciences, vice provost of Undergraduate Studies and finally his most recent position of nearly four years, vice chancellor of Student Affairs. In total Wood has spent six years as a student and 26 years as a faculty member of UC Davis.
“I arrived on campus as a community college transfer student in 1978,” Wood said. “My intention was to get my doctorate and leave and then go and teach at a small school.”
During his years here Wood has helped countless students with problems inside and outside of the classroom.
“I have many memories of helping students who were struggling get through,” Wood said, referring to some of his intro-level chemistry students. “They are all wonderfully intelligent students.”
On the advising side of student affairs, Wood aided students with problems that occur beyond the textbook.
“I understood that student’s lives are impacted by financial situations, family situations and work,” Wood said. “I was worried about students’ debt, and I was worried about getting them through quickly. It’s fine if students want to take longer, but I don’t want them to have to take longer.”
Wood also has fond memories of the staff that worked closely alongside him over the years.
The staff that has worked alongside Wood has had the same feelings about the Vice Chancellor.
“I first met Fred sometime during the 1990s when he joined the Sexual Harassment Advisors group as a volunteer advisor for his college,” said Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Emily Galindo. “To be honest, he stuck out because we had very few male advisors. In looking back, that was probably the beginning of my respect and admiration for him because he has always been the type of person to reach out to others to the campus community, students, faculty and staff to make their experience as positive as possible. During the last five years since he has been my direct supervisor, I have valued his guidance, support, sense of humor and most of all his friendship. He’s a wonderful person and will be truly missed.”
Wood’s family ties to Crookston, Minnesota, his mother being born in Crookston and both of his daughters attending Minnesota universities, along with his lifelong goal of being part of a small school community, made his decision easy.
In a press release, Robert Jones, University of Minnesota’s senior vice president for academic administration, said that Wood brings “outstanding administrative and academic credentials, a passion for ensuring innovative and supportive educational experiences, and a strong understanding of a multi-campus system with a land-grant mission.”
Wood is determined to make an impact on the campus and surrounding community.
“You really have a chance to impact the students, and even the region,” Wood said.
MAX GARRITY RUSSER can be reached at email@example.com.