Sanford resident recognized for service to Sandhills CC

Mar. 23, 2013 @ 05:02 AM

At a point in life when many students begin their freshman year of college, Teresa Wood took a different path toward her higher education career.

After graduating from business school in Sanford, then 19-year-old Wood was asked to work at a new community college set to open its doors in Moore County. Now on the 50th anniversary of Sandhills Community College, Wood was named as one of 50 people who has dedicated her service to the institution.

“It’s wonderful,” said Wood, who resides in Sanford with her husband, Jim. “I am very honored and thrilled to be named one of the 50 people. It was quite an honor.”

Wood was hired as the community college’s librarian, even before the school had an official library, and then worked in the president’s office, she said.

“We started gathering books, and that’s how we started the library,” Wood said. “There was nothing there.”

For her nearly 30 years of work in the library, a reading room within the Katharine L. Boyd Library was named after Wood. Then, Wood worked for 10 years as the president’s assistant before retiring in 2004. She received numerous honors, including an honorary doctorate from Sandhills. She was the first recipient of a national honor: the Association of Community Colleges Trustees Professional Board Staff Award.

Sherrill Matthews, who worked with Wood at the school, said her former colleague has seen a variety of changes at the college and was a constant in its corridors. 

“The best thing I can say about her is her humor and her compassion,” Matthews said. “When you are around her, you always felt like you were the most important thing.”

Wood’s friendly face, along with her knowledge of the college, made her an ideal honoree for the college’s 50th anniversary, Matthews said.

“We miss her at the office,” she said. “We miss that smiling face.”

Karen Carriker, another close friend of Wood’s who works at the college, said Wood had a knack for making people smile at the office.

“I could always count on her to make me laugh,” Carriker said. “She has the best sense of humor, and she is one of the most sincere people I know.”

When Sandhills announced it would recognize 50 people who had impacted the college, Carriker said Wood was the first person who came to her mind.

“She is most deserving,” she said. “She started working at the college on the first day it opened.”

Wood said she was honored to be associated with Sandhills and, through her 40 years of affiliation, she’s marveled at how the college has influenced people’s lives.

“It’s a wonderful college that has given so many people in this area an opportunity to attend college who never would have been able to do otherwise,” Wood said.