Trustee resigns, focuses on business
Allen Wood says he retired to give more attention to his company after a merger.
by ADORA CHEUNG
This article originally appeared in The Tiger on March 7, 2003 | PRINT

After serving 14 and a half years on the University's board of trustees, Allen Wood cited increasing professional responsibilities as he announced last week that he would immediately resign his trustee seat.

Wood's former Florence-based architectural firm, Wilkins, Wood, Mace Associates recently merged with a larger firm to form Moseley, Wilkins, Wood Associates. As the new chairman, Wood now oversees around 200 employees from several different states, including North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and Maryland.

Due to greater duties and travel time, Wood said he could not contribute fully to both his work and Clemson. The Board of Trustee meetings also coincided too frequently with his company's board meetings.

"I had to make a decision between the Clemson board and my company's board, which is my livelihood," said Wood. "I didn't think it was appropriate for me to continue and serve."

Thornton Kirby, executive secretary to the Board of Trustees, received Wood's letter of resignation Tuesday, Feb. 25. It caught both the board and Kirby off-guard.

"Some were disappointed, but they know he had to make a business decision," said Kirby.

Wood had informed University Board Chairman Lawrence Gressette Jr. earlier of the possibilities of leaving, but the resignation surprised even Gressette.

"We're losing a very capable trustee," said Gressette. "He had considerable longevity on the Board ... and was just a valuable asset of the board. We hate to lose trustees when they've contributed so much in the past."

Kirby said that Wood had not talked it over with some of his closest friends on the board because he knew they would try to talk him out of it. "He was very well-liked and will be missed," said Kirby. "He had the passion for the genius of Thomas Green Clemson's design of the University, and people love the fact that [Wood] knew that story and always liked to tell that story."

Wood left no doubt in his decision. "You always have some regrets," said Wood. "But I don't think I'll miss anything."

He also feels that another person could fulfill the responsibility better. "I've served for many years and you lose some of your energy," said Wood. "It's a position that deserves a lot of energy and enthusiasm and interest ... new members turnover new blood and new energy"

As one of six Clemson trustees elected by the South Carolina General Assembly, Wood's term would have ended in June 2004.

The General Assembly's screening committee was notified of the resignation, and it has posted vacancy announcements asking those who are interested to apply by Mar. 11. Once the deadline passes, the committee will schedule hearings where it will interview potential candidates. The committee will identify those qualified and will present the list to the General Assembly. After votes from both houses, the one with the greatest number of votes will become Wood's successor.

For now, Gressette said the board would operate with 12 members, but he hopes to reconvene with a complete board as soon as possible.

"The timeline is fixed by the General Assembly. They can wait until next year if they wanted but I think they will do it this year," said Gressette.

Serving on the board since 1988, some of Wood's responsibilities included vice chairman of the board, chairman of the board's Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee. During his tenure Wood was never known to be of the dissenting type.

"He was a person who values unity and consensus and works for that," stated Kirby. "Division would be the farthest away from what he stands for in trying to be leader."

Because Wood has served over a decade on the board, he is eligible to become a trustee emeritus, which allows him to attend all board functions in a non-voting capacity. Wood said he would take advantage of that and participate in the dialogue.

University president Jim Barker considers Wood a friend, colleague and advisor. "I'm certain Clemson will continue to benefit from his counsel and his experience," said Barker.

Wood is a Florence native, who earned a bachelor of science in architecture from the University in 1963. He has served in a variety of alumni leadership capacities, including as an IPTAY representative and Alumni Association area director among many other distinctions. He has also earned the Clemson Alumni Association's Distinguished Service Award and the Order of the Palmetto, the state of South Carolina's highest civilian honor.

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