Nov. 8, 2004
By Jennifer Bowie
On Friday, Nov. 5, The Ohio University Foundation bestowed its greatest honor upon alumna Joan Herrold Wood, the John C. Baker Founder's Award. The award recognizes individuals who have provided exemplary service to The Foundation. The inaugural Baker Awards were presented in 1995 during a special dual celebration in the life of Ohio University: the 50th anniversary of the Foundation and the 100th birthday of its founder, the late President Emeritus John C. Baker.
Wood, who earned her bachelor of science in journalism from Ohio University in 1952, enjoyed a 40-year career in newspapers and public relations and established her own public relations firm - Wood Public Relations - in 1987. During her career she served as vice president of broadcast services and a member of the management committee at Richard Weiner, Inc., a major public relations firm in New York City; worked for J. Walter Thompson, one of the most prestigious full-service advertising firms in the country; and was a staff writer for the Pittsburgh Press.
"Joan was chosen for the Baker Award because of her many accomplishments, but in particular for her steadfast commitment to Ohio University," said Leonard Raley, executive director of The Ohio University Foundation. "She has given generously of her time on numerous university boards, and she not only endowed a faculty position in the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism during the Third Century Campaign, but also enhanced that faculty position with an additional gift during the recent Bicentennial Campaign."
In addition to numerous annual gifts to a variety of Ohio University programs, Wood has funded the David C. and Joan Herrold Wood-Manasseh Cutler Scholars Award and the David C. and Joan Herrold Wood Eminent Scholar in Journalism.
"Joan has been a tremendous volunteer and benefactor," said Kathy Krendl, interim provost and former dean for the College of Communication. "As a supporter of our programs, she encourages us to dream on a grand scale, and she sets an ambitious pace for all of us. As an advocate, she promotes our students to employers, illustrates the value of staying connected with the University to fellow alumni and creates networking opportunities whenever possible."
While a student at Ohio University, Wood was a member of Pi Beta Phi fraternity and was a columnist for "The Post." She has served on the boards of both the New York/New Jersey and the Florida-Suncoast (Sarasota) Alumni Chapters and as a trustee of The Ohio University Foundation Board (1979-1994).
"Joan was born and bred into the 'green and white' as an alumna of Ohio University, that's her heritage. It's part of who she is," said Jack Ellis, vice president for development emeritus. "She exudes the spirit of Ohio University in her personality, in her service and in her dedication to alma mater."
A volunteer during all three of Ohio University's major campaigns, Wood was co-chair for major gifts for the East Coast region during the 1804 Campaign (which concluded in 1981 and raised $22.6 million); was chair of the Florida Regional Coordinating Council and member of the leadership gifts committee during The Third Century Campaign (which concluded in 1994 and raised $132 million); and was on the College of Communication's Dean's Advisory Council during the Bicentennial Campaign (which concluded in 2004 and raised $221 million). She continues to serve as honorary chair of the Dean's Advisory Council.
"I can't imagine going through the recent Bicentennial Campaign without Joan's support," said Heidi Tracy, assistant dean for the College of Communication. "Having been through two other capital campaigns for Ohio University, she served as a mentor for those of us who were involved in our first campaign. She was always willing to do whatever was asked of her."
Wood has received a number of honors from Ohio University, including: the Alumni Association's Certificate of Merit for outstanding service to alma mater in 1969; the L.J. Hortin Award from the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism for her distinguished journalism career in 1992; the University's Alumna of the Year Award in 1993; induction to the College of Communication Hall of Fame in 2003, when she also was the first recipient of the Joan Herrold Wood College of Communication Lifetime Commitment Award; and received the Greek Hall of Fame Award for career accomplishments and service to the University in 2004.
Civic involvements include service as president of the Women's Press Club of Pittsburgh, the Boston Terrier Club of New York, and the East Sixties Property Owners Association, the oldest block association in New York City, which was dedicated to retaining the residential neighborhood of its area. A resident of Sarasota, Florida since 1986, she has served on the board of the Sarasota Opera Association, Girls, Inc., the Women's Resource Center of Sarasota County, and the Southwest Florida Chapter of the American Red Cross as well as on the Advisory Council of Monte Maine Laboratory, a not-for-profit research and educational facility in Sarasota. As a hobby and exercise, she competes nationwide in pro-am ballroom dancing, which has resulted in a number of championships and trophies.
Chartered in 1804, Ohio University is fully accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools at bachelor's, master's, and doctoral levels. Students come from every state in the union and 100 different countries. Presently enrolling more than 29,000 students on the Athens campus and five regional campuses, Ohio University offers 285 undergraduate majors through 10 academic colleges and the Center for International Studies. The University also offers master's degrees in nearly all areas, 20 doctoral degrees and a doctoral degree in osteopathic medicine.
The Ohio University Foundation is the repository for all private gifts through annual giving programs, capital, and special campaigns and planned or deferred gifts. The Foundation is an institutionally related, non-profit, tax-exempt, 501c(3) organization.
Jennifer Bowie is director of development communication for University Advancement.