by MaryAlice Bitts-Jackson
Hugh and Helen Kisner Woodward, both of the class of 1908, never had children, but their legacy lives on in the lives of hundreds of Dickinsonians, thanks to a charitable foundation they established. Last week, President Margee Ensign and fellow Dickinsonians joined together to honor this extraordinary Dickinson couple, and the Sandia Foundation, which carries out their philanthropic mission.
Named for the Sandia Mountains in the Woodwards’ adopted home state of New Mexico, the Sandia Foundation supports educational, scientific, benevolent, religious and charitable institutions, and Dickinson is a primary beneficiary. According to Dickinson Vice President for Finance & Administration Brontè Burleigh-Jones, the foundation has provided a total of $39.8 million in scholarship funds to Dickinson, including $1.5 million last year alone—a sum that provided Dickinson educations for 97 students, from 32 countries, in 2016-17.
Current Sandia Foundation scholarship students pose for a photo during the event. Photo by Carl Socolow '77.
On Oct. 20, Dickinson welcomed Sandia Foundation leaders to campus and inducted the foundation—and, posthumously, the Woodwards—into the Founders' Society, established in 2011 to recognize alumni, parents and friends of the college with a cumulative giving of $1 million or more to Dickinson.
Sandia Foundation trustees, including President and CEO Riis Gonzales and Suzanne Barker, chair of the board, visited classrooms, toured the campus and College Farm and held the Sandia Foundation board meeting in Carlisle. They also were honored guests at a Friday-afternoon ceremony, which included the awarding of Founders' Society medals.
Sophie Kirkman ’19, a physics major, was among the Dickinsonians who thanked the Sandia trustees publicly during the event. “I am one of many other scholarship recipients who are making the most of all that Dickinson offers, in an unbelievably broad range of disciplines and pursuits,” said Kirkman, who plans to study renewable energy next semester as a study-abroad student in New Zealand. “I am so grateful for these opportunities that Dickinson and the Woodwards have given me.”
Ensign added that as Founders' Society members, the Woodwards and Sandia leaders are part of a premier group that follows in the footsteps of earlier Dickinson supporters, including Benjamin Rush, John and Mary Dickinson, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, John Marshall and others who rallied to help rebuild Old West after a devastating fire in 1803. Founders' Society members are memorialized in an exhibit on Old West’s ground floor, highlighting their place in Dickinson’s unfolding history.
“The Woodwards embodied the spirit of what Dr. Rush hoped for in establishing this college—that graduates would take the knowledge acquired here on this campus and go out to live lives of great accomplishment, lives spent in working for the common good,” Ensign said. “We are eternally grateful for the Woodwards’ inspired philanthropy to Dickinson, and it is my honor to induct them, along with the Sandia Foundation, into the Founders’ Society.”
Published October 26, 2017