In the Loop
General News : Jul 6, 2017

Remembering Chuck Woods: A friend of the arts

By Samantha Brown

Chuck Woods embraced life as one big cultural emporium: collecting knowledge from his travels around the world and, more significantly, investing in the lives of his loved ones.

Woods had an essence all his own - his compassion and generous spirit toward the arts is one of the great testaments to his incredible legacy at the University of Florida.
The College of the Arts (COTA) is grateful to Chuck Woods for sharing his commitment and passion for the arts throughout the entirety of his Gator career.

Woods attended several of the college’s functions and developed friendships with administrators Jennifer Coolidge and Amy Vigilante, and Dean of the College Lucinda Lavelli.

Woods was well known for his community engagement, especially his involvement with COTA.

Lavelli emphasized Woods’ intrigue, and his devotion to his many interests and passions.

“Chuck loved collecting art and easily picked up the interests of the people he dealt with," said Gary Libby, art historian and close personal friend of Woods’.   

Woods collected the works of his professional artist friends, including UF faculty members Jerry Uelsmann and Ken Kerslake.

Woods was an enthusiast of both contemporary and mid-century art and donated pieces to the Harn Museum of Art, including those of Doug Prince.   

He sponsored art exhibitions for his friends, including Uelsmann, who shared a love of photography with Woods.

Woods traveled frequently throughout his childhood. His father was in the army, and through his adventures, he picked up photography as a hobby.

“He was both highly interested and responsive,” Libby said.

During his graduate years, Woods worked part-time at several area radio stations to satisfy his love for radio news and entertainment.

In addition, Woods would write letters to the editor about development and maintaining Gainesville’s character and beauty; he became a long-standing member of the city’s beautification board.
“I think he was a reporter at heart,” Libby said.

Woods received his bachelor’s degree in advertising in 1963 and master’s in journalism two years later from UF, after which he pursued a career in environmental reporting.

Eventually, Woods became editor of the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension publication, Citrus Tanker, and devoted years to improving the magazine. He taught communication classes for the extension office and was awarded for his expertise in writing.
“Chuck was usually up for anything,” Libby said, sharing that Woods rode his bike all over Gainesville and participated in a documentary about the Charlie Johns scandal.
While Woods was not a book-reader, he subscribed to 10-15 magazines to educate himself about pop culture and perused articles to send to his friends and co-workers.
Lavelli said she will miss receiving Chuck’s regular email articles.

“Woods was the kind of guy you would remember if you met him,” Libby said. A vibrant and self-actualized gentleman; it was startling to meet someone with such an alive personality.