“Donor quote for top: “Students are what the U of A is all about. If we want the students of Arkansas to have the best opportunities possible, then we need a top-notch faculty that is appropriately paid.”
– Ted (B.Arch. ’81) and Leslie Belden (B.Arch. ’79, Ph.D. ’05)
Clint Wood grew up in close proximity to the University of Arkansas – in the town of Elkins – and always enjoyed math and science. After attending a high school engineering event at the U of A, Wood knew what he wanted to study in college.
“I liked the construction aspect of engineering – buildings, bridges and foundations,” he said. “Civil engineering was a perfect fit for me.”
As an undergraduate at the university, Wood received the Charles W. and Alice S. Baughn Memorial Endowed Scholarship, and that support allowed him to focus on academics during the school year while gaining work experience in the summer. At the time, Wood couldn’t imagine spending more than four years of his life on a college campus pursuing a degree. But toward the end of his undergraduate experience, he began to have a change of heart.
“I was encouraged to pursue graduate school,” he said. “And I connected with a professor involved in earthquake engineering. This led to interesting research during my master’s degree, and I eventually decided I would pursue a Ph.D. as well.”
Wood traveled the world pursuing his research and finished his doctorate at the University of Texas – Austin. When it was time to find a job, his thoughts turned to home.
“Everyone wants to come back to their undergrad alma mater,” he said. “It was home for me.”
Wood is an assistant professor of civil engineering at the university and a geotechnical-engineering specialist. He leads the Soil Dynamics and Geotechnical Earthquake Engineering Laboratory and is currently working on a project funded by the Arkansas Department of Transportation to better estimate the seismic demand on bridges in the event of a large magnitude earthquake in the state. His research involves geotechnical engineering issues related to earthquake engineering with a focus on how soil responses to the dynamic loads applied by earthquakes. As a former scholarship recipient, he now sees its benefit from a faculty perspective.
“Scholarship support is especially important to students who don’t have financial support from their families,” Wood said. “I’ve worked with many students who have benefited from scholarships and fellowships.”
Wood’s own scholarship as an undergraduate undoubtedly set him on a path to success. In his current role, he frequently travels the globe examining earthquake impacts from New Zealand to Ecuador and has made a name for himself – as well as the university he considers home.
“My favorite thing about the university is the collegiality,” he says. “You don’t get that everywhere.”
Attract Talented Faculty
- To attract key researchers, it is important to invest in our faculty, especially in the form of endowed chairs or fellowships. Scholarships often entice students to come to the University of Arkansas, and endowed faculty positions are incentives for faculty to join the university.
- The research being done by professors like Wood puts the University of Arkansas in the national spotlight and brings in critical research dollars. However, other universities sometimes try to lure away these talented individuals – often with the prospect of an endowed faculty position at their own institution.
- In addition to chairs and fellowships, faculty support endowments are another excellent way to ensure our faculty members have the resources needed for success.