Clayton State University is mourning the passing of one of its original faculty members. Dr. Martha Wood, professor emerita of Mathematics at Clayton State, and a member of the faculty at Clayton Junior College when the University first opened its doors in 1969, passed away last night after a long battle with cancer.
Along with her husband, James M. “Jim” Wood, Jr., Martha Wood has been a pillar of the Clayton State and Clayton County community for the past 43 years – the length of the Wood’s residence in Forest Park.
In addition to Martha’s long years of service on the Clayton State faculty, Jim Wood is the sole remaining founding member of the Clayton State University Foundation Board. In 2010, the Wood’s sons set up special funds in the Clayton State University Foundation honoring both parents individually, monies which are designed to benefit and promote faculty and staff improvement at the University.
The purpose of the Martha Wood Faculty Development Endowment Fund is to support professional development for Clayton State University faculty seeking to improve their teaching expertise, while broadening their knowledge of teaching theory. Two $1,000 scholarships and one $500 scholarship are awarded annually to any full or part-time faculty with at least one year of teaching at Clayton State who meet the qualifying criteria. Recipients are required to submit a written report upon completion of their professional development activities.
The Woods, as well as their family, friends, and business associates, have also donated to the Clayton State College of Business to create an endowed fund for the James Wood Lecture Series, which financially supports the efforts of the College of Business to seek and obtain guest lecturers who are some of Georgia’s most celebrated business personalities.
As the lone remaining founding member of the Clayton State University Foundation’s Board of Trustees, Jim Wood has watched Clayton State grow from an idea, to a junior college, to a four-year college, to a state university. On Saturday, May 7, 2011, at the University’s annual Spring Commencement ceremony, Jim Wood was presented with a Doctor of Humane Letters by Clayton State President Dr. Thomas J. Hynes, in recognition of his long career in public service and journalism.
Possibly the most visible of the Wood’s work in the community is the Tomato Sandwich Party. For more than 30 years the Woods have hosted the Tomato Sandwich Party fund raiser, usually in early August, offering tomato sandwiches along with entertainment and good fellowship. Martha Wood is also the founder of the Southeastern Center for the Enhancement of Learning, while Jim Wood is a former owner/publisher of the Clayton News Daily.
Funeral arrangements for Martha Wood are pending. In addition to her husband, she leaves four sons and six grandchildren.