Looking back, looking ahead with 2020 vision

If you remember the mid-1980’s, you might recall the movie “Back To The Future.”

It is a delightful film about a teenager named Marty McFly who goes back in time 30 years with the aid of a time machine. While spending some time in the 1950’s, he finds himself struggling to ensure that his own parents actually meet and fall in love, because if they somehow do not, history will be forever altered. And then Marty McFly would not, you know, actually exist.

As we begin the momentous year of 2020, celebrating 150 years of William Woods history while looking ahead to our exciting future, it is interesting to ponder what would have happened if a man named William Woods had not stepped up and saved this university back at the turn of the 20th Century. Without his generosity, would William Woods University have a different name? More so, would it actually even exist? I guess we will never truly know, but considering how far WWU has advanced—on this, the 150th anniversary of its founding, that is a good thing.

A time machine has not yet been invented, so we cannot go back to watch our own university’s history being made in real time. Nor can we ever personally thank THE William Woods for saving this university we all love. But on Friday of this week, our university community will get the opportunity to do the next best thing – hear from Mr. Jonathan Kemper, the great-great-grandson of our university’s namesake, at the official kick-off event of our 150th anniversary year. Mr. Kemper will be sharing his thoughts about the legacy of William Woods, the man, during our university’s 150th birthday party at Cutlip Auditorium. It will be a wonderful way for all who love The Woods to begin our sesquicentennial year, hearing from a direct descendant of the most important figure in William Woods history.

History will be everywhere during our 2020 year of commemoration, but looking back will only be part of the story. Our year will also include celebrating where our university stands today, and what is ahead in our exciting future. There will be countless events on campus all year to mark the Big 1-5-0, and I sincerely hope you take the time to experience some of them, to appreciate how far we have come and where we are going. Turning 150 may be just one snapshot in time in our long story, but being here on campus while it is happening certainly makes for a tremendously exciting year.

Happy 150th Anniversary, Owls!