Homecoming isn’t just about a school for CSU alumnus Bill Woods. It’s about celebrating the place where he gained knowledge, a degree and met the love of his life almost 50 years ago.
Not missing a homecoming since 1980, the golden leaves mark a time of year Woods dedicates to the university, from coordinating the lighting of the “A” to cheering on the Rams at a game he knows all too well.
The former CSU football player, who graduated in 1958 with a degree in applied human sciences, has come a long way since his years here, but his heart hasn’t left Fort Collins.
“I grew up in Loveland and this school’s small-town atmosphere seemed just the right fit for me,” he said. “I had a good time and got a good education. Since I moved back here in 1980, supporting the university has been a passion.”
His passion is one that can be traced through Woods’ bloodline. Half of his family, his wife and both his sons attended CSU, and the school’s impact on each one of their lives has been “great,” he said.
Although retired, Woods, now 70, and his wife have dedicated themselves to supporting CSU in every way they can.
“Everyone needs to give back to the university, whether it be with time or money,” he said. “It’s a great university, and we need to see it prosper, and it can’t without active alumni.”
“Active” is the perfect word to describe Woods’ retirement. He’s spent time as President of the Greater Ram Club, the Alumni Association and the Former Athlete’s Association.
He is still a board member for the Alumni Association and was nicknamed “the commissioner” of the booster membership drive, which raises money for athletic scholarships.
His role as an active alum mirrors his involvement when he was a student.
While attending CSU – when it was Colorado A&M – Woods not only played football but also was a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon, a social fraternity and an officer in ROTC, which led him to a job in the U.S. Army after graduation.
Woods’ respect for the university comes not only from receiving an education but also for finding Jan Woods, the woman to whom he’s been married to since graduation.
“The university has been phenomenal for us,” said Jan Woods. “Almost everything we do is through the school, including football games and plays. We love living here and we love CSU.”
Woods spent his time in the military serving as an officer and hospital administrator. His experience with ROTC at CSU gave him a foot in the door, and he was able to travel and live throughout the world, from Europe to Vietnam.
“Attending CSU gave me the basis for my military career and working as a businessman,” he said. “My education gave me a solid foundation and a base to get started from.”
Since retiring from the Army and moving back to Fort Collins, Bill became an administrator at the law firm of Ray, Jourday & Pickering PC (where he worked for 20 years).
Bill and Jan currently plan on living in Fort Collins indefinitely and remaining active in the CSU community.
“We feel very connected to the school,” he said. “Both my sons attended CSU, and we see it as an integral part of the community here.
“I want to help it along.”
Staff writer Margaret M. Canty can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.