U.Va. Loses Its Voice
If all goes according to plan, a moving van will pull out of Charlottesville Tuesday, packed with the belongings of Carol and Bill Wood and bound for Birmingham, Ala. On Thursday, Carol and Bill (and the rest of their entourage) will follow.
It’s going to be hard for Carol to leave, after having spent most of the last two decades — 17 years, to be exact — on Grounds. People around town know her as the University’s official spokesperson, after she followed in the footsteps of two legends, Louise Dudley and Bill Fishback, as the go-to person for reporters. People around UVA Today headquarters know her as one of the best bosses we have ever had, or will ever have.
Carol is one of those people you just want to hang out with, sort of bask in her glow a little bit. She’s smart, she knows what’s really going on, she’s often candid and she’s funny. Sure, we’ve seen her angry, or sad, but she’s also the first one to pick herself up and move on, pulling the rest of us along. We all were sure that our professional lives were over when our office changed reporting lines, or when we stopped publishing Inside UVA on paper, or when we moved from our primo on-Grounds location out to Fontaine Research Park. But Carol convinced us that “Change is good,” and we marched on.
The reason we believed her was that she has so often taken an interest in us. Carol has been our advocate, pushing us to better ourselves — seek more training, take some classes, go after that promotion. She challenged us with us more responsibilities, and saw to it that we were rewarded for meeting them. And during dark times, she was there, too — at our parents’ funerals, for instance.
It was at one of those occasions that Carol made the decision to retire, she told a huge crowd Friday at her farewell reception at Carr’s Hill (see photo, above). She had been pondering her exit for awhile, partly pushed by the unexpectedly quick sale of her house. But recently, the mother of one of our colleagues had died, and Carol went to the funeral. At the service, she heard three grandchildren speak of how much it had meant to them to have their grandmother involved in their lives. She thought about her own three young grandchildren in Alabama and, she said, her own choice became clear. It was time to get into the grandparenting business, full time.
She’ll still be around, in a telecommuting sort of way, until the end of the fall semester. She says she’s going to become proficient at Skype.
I wrote before that leaving Grounds will be hard for Carol, but she has something pretty awesome to look forward to in Birmingham. In her case, change will once again be good.
As for the rest of us, left behind, we’re going to need some more convincing.
Godspeed, Carol and Bill!