Giving With a Purpose: Why Alumnus Donald Wood Gives Back to Westminster

As the Interim Executive Director of Just Communities of Arkansas, Donald Wood, ’00 ΣΧ, embraces the organization’s motto — “Be a lamp, or a lifeboat, or a ladder” — as his favorite quotation. These words by 13th-century poet Rumi also reflect his philosophy of giving back to Westminster College.

Wood both recommends the College to prospective students and gives back financially because he believes in the institution’s ability to develop values-based leaders.

“Westminster offers an undergraduate experience that combines a uniquely rich history in leadership with a liberal arts culture, both of which are needed now more than ever,” he explains.

Originally from Fort Smith, AR, Wood currently resides in Taos, NM, where he participates in a number of nonprofit organizations. He has served as co-chair of Racial Equity & Hunger National Learning Network, as coordinator for the Network for Southern Economic Mobility, and as a tutor and board member of AR Kids Read, his favorite volunteer role to date.

“AR Kids Read has given me the most joy, personally, because it has allowed me to connect with amazing young people, to learn from them, and to support them in developing a love for reading and learning,” Wood says.

Helping others develop strong communications skills comes naturally to Wood, who self-designed his Professional Communications major at Westminster. In 2004, he earned a master’s degree in Communications with an emphasis in Civic Engagement at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville.

Despite his many professional and philanthropic accomplishments, Wood says his greatest success is his marriage to his spouse, Jenn, and role as “bonus dad” to Cameron, 19.

Ultimately, relationships are important to Wood, who adds that Westminster provided him with a wide variety of “tremendously talented, accomplished people to call on” throughout his career. These key relationships combined with his solid liberal arts education remain with Wood. He encourages others to give back to the College so future generations can pass through the Columns and go on to make the world a better place.

“Led by a group of committed, talented faculty and staff, Westminster is the ideal incubator for developing the systems-changing leaders our world so desperately needs right now,” Wood says.

For more information on giving to Westminster College, please contact J.R. Andrews, Vice President for Institutional Advancement, at or 573-592-5327. You also may visit the Giving page on our website.



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Sarah Rummel Backer

Sarah Rummel Backer is the Director of Media Relations and Senior Writer at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri. A proud Westminster graduate, Sarah has more than 20 years of experience in marketing and strategic communications in the areas of higher education, medicine, agriculture, and the private business sector.