Wood Discusses the Special Children’s School she Helped Found (Play Audio)
Wood: We had a school and it ended up - ironically, and to her credit - not really serving the population where her daughter fit. It ended up serving those children who were preschoolers who fell through the cracks. At that point, in order to get funding through the public schools or to get services, you had to get a label. If a four-year old receives a label, you can hardly ever get rid of that label. So what our school was about - we had a lot of developmentally delayed children that defied labels, or should not have a label because it was any number of reasons. So, the majority of our children, by the time they left our comprehensive environment - everyone was certified and very professional - most of them were able to be mainstreamed, and had very productive opportunities within a school system, and they never ever received a label.
Wood Discusses How she Became Part of the Alumni Office (Play Audio)
Wood: It had pretty much been historically true, that they would hire someone who was an alum or an alumna. And I think that really was indeed what they were planning to do. Again, I think this was an alumni board member on a Sunday afternoon - I remember this call vividly - I got a call from a woman named Jane Duvall, and she said, “Cynthia, you have to apply for this position,” and I said, “But Jane, I’m not an alumna.” And she said, “No, but you know the College very well and you know the culture, and you know the community; you have had so much community experience, and you have worked with Dr. Bornstein. We think you are well qualified, you need to apply.” So, Warren Johnson was the vice president and so I went and said - and I think the deadline had passed to apply - I said, “I’m interested in applying for this position.” And he said, “Well, I think you’re probably qualified, but the deadline’s just about passed, and we have a couple of finalists that were considering. Will you be disappointed if you don’t get the job and leave here?” And I said, “No, I’d like to get, but I love my job and I’m not unhappy with it, but this is just an opportunity where I think I would do well.” And so he allowed me to apply, and we got down to two finalists, a young man from Yale and I was one of the finalists. And I had to go through the grueling process that finalists go through where you are interviewed for six hours and you have an open interview.
Wood: Even though it’s very small - class meaning class identification, not social class - the affinities lie within groups even though it’s a small campus. In the early days, it was football, it was theater - always theater - English majors, baseball team, basketball team, sororities, fraternities; it was different affinities. So we said, Lets don’t do every five year anniversaries. Why don’t we hit the major years and appeal to what people want to do? Let’s do affinity reunions.
So the first affinity reunion was a football reunion and at that point in time, the football team went out of business if you will, it was ended in 1951, I believe - so this was in the nineties, so as you can imagine, the people were not real young - they were probably in their seventies. Well we had a huge attendance. All these football players came back with their spouses, and then their friends would come and then the cheerleaders came. So we had this football reunion, and then people would say we were really close people ahead of us. We tried to look for a formula for cluster reunions, but formulas just don’t work where you cluster your years together. All of a sudden, our numbers started going this way. So we said, okay, so this worked, let’s think of other affinities.
One of the neatest things was that
Posey had puppies and that was just like Mr. Cornell’s grandbabies.
He had the best time… We went down for like a baby shower for puppies -
we had a puppy party - we went down and we had some of Mr. Cornell’s
friends from Palm Beach who really weren’t that fond puppies either.
We had these cute little furry white balls, and so you had a towel in
your lap in case the puppy had an accident, and everybody got to hold a
puppy, and oh and ah over Mr. Cornell’s puppies. That was a
highlight for him, because these were his children or grandchildren.
Wood Discusses her Business Etiquette Course (Play Audio)
Wood: So for six to eight years I did it for career services and then also for Crummer. The Crummer students were a little more serious. We did it around a meal and Marriot was wonderful. We did a five-course meal and we discussed which fork to use, and then there were questions about what to order when you’re at a restaurant. We talked about interviews and banquets and there were all sorts of questions, but they generally were focused on business table etiquette - not only what was in front of us, but also in restaurants and all that.
It was just
so funny. I saw a student the other day that was an alumna, and she was
like, “Mrs. Wood, I still remember that business etiquette.” We had
this little joke about which was your glass and which was your plate.
So I would say, “If you’re not dyslexic, this is the way -this is the
“d” (forms a d with right hand) and this is the “b” (forms a b with left
hand) and everything on this side is the liquids.