Howard Wood (BSBA ´61) has never forgotten the opportunities he received as a student and graduate of Washington University in St. Louis, which he attended on a full-tuition scholarship. Wood received an honorary doctor of laws degree in 2013.
Making significant contributions to the WUSTL community
Since earning a bachelor of science in business administration degree in 1961 from the Olin Business School, he has been an ardent supporter of his alma mater.
Through his generosity, service and commitment to Washington University, he is helping current students reach their potential and helping drive Olin’s rise as a leading business school.
After a successful career in accounting, Wood changed course and co-founded what would become two of the nation´s most successful telecommunications companies: Charter Communications Inc. and Cequel III LLC.
He grew up in Bonne Terre, a small town in the heart of Missouri’s lead belt. His father was principal of the high school and his mother was an elementary school teacher.
Valedictorian of his high school class, he received a full-tuition scholarship that was offered by Henry Day, a St. Louis businessman with operations in Bonne Terre, to any student from St. Francis County who went to Washington University. The scholarship made it possible for both Mr. Wood and his brother, Donald (BSBA ’66), to attend.
After graduating from the university, Mr. Wood joined the St. Louis office of Arthur Andersen & Co., a leading international accounting firm, and rose quickly through the ranks to become partner-in- charge of the St. Louis tax division and a regional tax partner, one of the youngest in the firm’s history.
In 1987, he joined Cencom Cable Television as chief financial officer and chief executive officer. The company was later sold to Hallmark. In 1993, he co-founded Charter Communications Inc., which became the fourth-largest cable television operation in the United States.
After Mr. Wood and his partners sold Charter, he co-founded Cequel III LLC, an investor and operator in cable television and other communications businesses. In 2003, he co-founded Gilead LLC, an investor and manager of four communications-related businesses.
While building his businesses, he also helped drive Washington University’s progress. In 1980-81, he served on the Business School Task Force, which led to the school becoming nationally ranked.
He is a past president of the Olin alumni association and an inaugural member, since 1995, of the school’s National Council.
He was elected to the Board of Trustees in 2000 and named an emeritus trustee in 2011. A life member of the Danforth Circle, he also served on the School of Medicine´s Finance Committee.
To help attract the best and brightest MBA students to the Olin School, Mr. Wood and his former wife, Joyce (BSBA ’76, MBA ’77), launched the Wood Leadership Fellows Program in 1998. Wood Fellows receive full-tuition awards.
In 2004, the Woods also established the Joyce and Howard Wood Distinguished Professorship at Olin, currently held by William P. Bottom, PhD.
In 2007, the Wood Leadership Scholars Program was added to offer significant need-based scholarships for outstanding BSBA students.
The family’s generosity also has extended to the School of Medicine with the establishment in 2008 of a 5,600-square-foot state-of-the-art simulation center in which medical students can get hands-on clinical training.
Mr. Wood and his brother established the Wayne Wood Scholarship at Olin in honor of their father in 1989.
Commitment to Conservation
Mr. Wood’s love of the land led him to become active in Missouri conservation. He is a director of the Conservation Federation of Missouri and served as its president from 1984-85.
In response to Mr. Wood’s continued commitment to conservation, the late Gov. Mel Carnahan appointed him to the Missouri Conservation Commission in 1997 for a six-year term. One of four commissioners, Mr. Wood helped establish Missouri’s conservation program as one of the best in the nation.
Mr. Wood received Olin´s Distinguished Alumni Award in 1992, the Founders Day Distinguished Alumni Award in 1996, the Dean´s Medal from Olin in 2000 and the Robert S. Brookings Award in 2012.
Mr. Wood lives with his wife, the Rev. Dr. Marilyn S. Wood, in Bonne Terre, where he runs a real estate and cattle farming operation. He has three daughters, Lisa, Heather (MBA ’91) and Nicole, and three stepchildren, Eric, Dana (MSOT ’96) and Katie.