Born in Tennent, Monmouth County, New Jersey on July 20, 1890, Carl Raymond Woodward graduated from Rutgers University with a Bachelor of Science in 1914 and a Master of Arts in 1919. He received his Ph.D. from Cornell University in 1926 in agricultural economics, rural education, and rural sociology, and served in various capacities at Rutgers, including a successful seven-year tenure as a professor of English. In 1928, he was appointed assistant to the president of Rutgers and then became the college secretary in 1936.
In 1941, Woodward was chosen as the fifth president of the Rhode Island State College (University of Rhode Island). As president from 1941 to 1958, he encouraged an expansion of course offerings through the establishment of a summer semester. Woodward also authorized the addition of an Army Specialized Training Unit so that Military Science majors would be able to graduate in three instead of four years. Thousands of returning veterans enrolled in various majors due to the benefits accorded them from the G.I. Bill; this factor boosted enrollment significantly.
In 1951, the college assumed university status, with Carl Woodward continuing to serve as its president. His passion for liberal arts education was evidenced by the institution expansion and diversification under his leadership. He remained as president until his retirement in 1958.
Woodward agricultural education, as befitting the president of a state agricultural college, led him to write an authoritative work on the history of farming in southern Rhode Island. His highly regarded book is titled Plantation in Yankeeland: The Story of Cocumscussoc, Mirror of Colonial Rhode Island (1971).
For his significant contributions to higher education, Dr. Carl Woodward was inducted into the Rhode Island Heritage Hall of Fame in 1975, one year after his death in 1974.
Debra A. Mulligan