Leaving a Legacy: Charles Woodard Retires

Charles Woodard

Charles Woodard

Charles Woodard served South Dakota State as a member of the English department for the past 40 years. He inspired countless individuals through his writing, teaching and leadership in higher education. Retiring in May 2015, Woodard handed down a legacy that will make a difference in the lives of those who follow.

Woodard’s career at State began in 1975. He developed four annual programs: the SDSU Great Plains Writers’ Conference, the Oak Lake Tribal Writers’ Retreat, the SDSU Wacipi and the Consider the Century Conference. His work typically focuses on American Indian Studies and Veterans Affairs, and he often works with professionals outside of the university community to develop programs to benefit others.

A few highlights from the achievements of his long and storied career include: being nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in 1990; earning distinguished professor status in 1992; earning SDSU’s Excellence in Outreach and Engagement Award in 2012; and earning the South Dakota Council of Teachers of English Author of the Year award in 2013.

Woodard is known for making eloquent remarks at important times. Distinguished Professor Emeritus Nels Granholm, a colleague and friend, said his writings, speeches and lectures teach “the value of language, and how language shapes thoughts, works, deeds and human truths. At the same time, they help us learn how to respect and value people from different cultures and cultural traditions.”

About future plans, Woodard said, “In any event, after my retirement from SDSU, whether or not I’m called upon to do any more teaching, I plan to continue to work at becoming a better English professor, as I plan to work at becoming a better husband, father, grandfather, son, uncle, brother-in-law, cousin, nephew, friend, ally and citizen of the world. Whatever our chronological ages, we’re all works in progress, aren’t we?”

Ben Stout

1 Comment

  1. Dear Dr. Woodard:

    I was thinking of you for no apparent reason and I checked your status and find that you have retired.

    I wish you the best of times.

    There are many other students who have benefited from your guidance and support.

    I especially remember the dinner I was allowed to share with you, your students, and Frederick Manfred. That was a special day.

    I remain your obedient servant,

    Brian Rice, class of 1992.

Leave a Reply