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Professor Frank Woodward

Written By: Phillip Stone - Feb• 12•19

Another in a fairly short list of professors who served but a short time at Wofford in the early days was Professor Frank C. Woodward.

A Virginia native, Woodward graduated from Randolph-Macon College, a Methodist institution in Virginia that is older than Wofford.  After graduation, he followed his father into the Methodist ministry in Virginia.  But, he had been trained in some of the more scholarly methods of teaching English and languages, and despite having no advanced degrees, in 1881 Wofford called upon him to teach French and Latin.  A year later, the college gave him the English chair that Dr. William M. Baskervill had vacated to go to Vanderbilt. He lived in the house on the eastern end of the row of faculty homes formerly occupied by David Duncan, and later occupied by J. A. Gamewell.  That house is now the wellness center.

Woodward continued Baskervill’s teaching style in the English courses enthusiastically.  He taught for a total of seven years at Wofford before, in 1888, the faculty at South Carolina College called him to join their ranks as professor of English language, literature, and rhetoric.

He was destined for higher office.  In 1897, the trustees made him president of South Carolina College.  An interesting point there is that the faculty in the 1880s and early 1890s had two members who went on to presidencies at much larger places, Woodward as well as John C. Kilgo, who went to Trinity as president in 1894.

After USC, Woodward went to the University of Richmond to teach English.  It’s hard to say what impact he had on Wofford these 130 years later, but he was one in a series of faculty who spent a few years helping to improve teaching and scholarship, who worked alongside a core of faculty who stayed for many more years.

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