Jerry Wood has been working to improve Texas Wesleyan University for years, but still he was surprised to be named the 2014 Alumni of the Year.
“One person gets this award a year and you look at all the alumni that has come through Wesleyan. It was a very humbling honor,” Wood said, who received the award at the Alumni Medal Dinner in October. “I was really surprised.”
The Alumni Association Board of Directors and the university senior staff and faculty nominate various alumni of the year.
“He [Wood] is definitely loyal, he gives back to the university financially, he’s always around to lend a helping hand, so he was definitely an easy choice,” said DeAwna Wood, assistant director of alumni relations.
In 2007, Jerry Wood received the O.D. Bounds Award, which is given to an alumnus or alumna involved in athletics who exemplifies the work, character and contributions made by the late O.D. Bounds, Jr.
Wood is the current chairman of the O.D. Bounds Invitational Fundraising Tournament, which helps raise money for the golf teams. He also served on the alumni board and is the past president of the Texas Wesleyan Ram Club.
“I can’t think of anybody that has the best interest in Texas Wesleyan at heart that deserves it more than he does,” said assistant athletic director Kevin Millikan. “We need more like him. He puts his money and his time where his mouth is.”
Wood graduated in 1969. After working as a computer systems analyst for several Metroplex companies, he started own information technology company, Mikrotek Data Systems, in 1981. Years later, he was more than ready to give back to place that set him on his path.
“I’ve just always loved Wesleyan,” Wood said.
In 2013, President Frederick Slabach asked Wood to service on the Board of Trustees. As a member of the board, Wood wanted something to help the university in the two areas he felt needed it most: perception and money.
“I felt that if we could connect Wesleyan with charitable organizations, philanthropic organizations within the community and make connects with them on joint projects, then we make start getting some positive press out of it and it might help our perception,” Wood said.
So Wood spoke with the Ben Hogan Foundation and proposed a scholarship that would pay for a student’s full four years at Texas Wesleyan. The candidates for the scholarship came from The First Tee of Fort Worth, an organization that helps young people build character and life skills “through the game of golf,” according its website. Two students on campus have already received the scholarship and there will be one student each for the next three years.
“One of the best things to ever happen in Fort Worth,” Millikan said of the scholarships. “The reason they choose Texas Wesleyan was mainly because of Jerry Wood.”
Wood believes that the change he’s seen in the last few years has the university headed in the right direction.
“I think that President Slabach is extraordinary competent in what he does,” Wood said. “ Under his leadership I think we can do some really neat things in the next few years.”