News Release

Chancellor Fred E. Wood to Step Down at End of 2016-17 Academic Year

By Elizabeth Tollefson on
Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Chancellor Fred WoodUniversity of Minnesota Crookston Chancellor Fred E. Wood announced today that he plans to retire from the University of Minnesota system at the end of the 2016-17 academic year. He has served as chancellor at the U of M Crookston since July 2012. Wood shared that he needs to care for his extended family in northern California as the reason he is leaving his leadership position in Crookston—one he has relished at a place he has developed great affection for over his time serving as chancellor.

“Working with this campus and the community of Crookston has been the highlight of my professional career. I know of no group of professionals at any college that cares more about students and their success than the staff and faculty at UMC. Certainly, while the weather here is amazing, it is the people that make the campus so truly amazing and such a very special place to work.”

“I also want to thank the community of Crookston, which has been so very supportive of the campus and me during my service as chancellor. It has been great fun to attend the extraordinary events and to meet so many wonderful people. It is an incredible community, and I have been blessed to have been a part of it for what will be a fifth year. I can now understand why my mother always had a sparkle in her eye when she spoke of her youth in northwestern Minnesota.”

Finally, Wood said this about the UMC students in his note to the campus, “You have inspired me every day with your optimism for the future, your hard work and intelligence, and your deep appreciation for the institution.  I know of no group of on-campus students who are more committed to their holistic education and have a greater willingness to engage in so many educational activities. I also know of no group of online students who better understand the transformational impact of their education. Thank you for attending UMC and for giving UMC the opportunity to help you reach your educational objectives and career aspirations.”

One of the highlights of Wood’s career in Crookston has been the construction and opening of a new wellness center on the campus. Wood’s advocacy locally and legislatively was instrumental in bringing the project to completion. The 36,000 sq. ft. facility includes a two-court gymnasium, suspended walking/running track, weight/cardio area, multipurpose room for group exercise, and a classroom. Funding was approved in the 2014 Minnesota Legislative Bonding Bill, which included a $10 million allocation, with an additional $5 million to be raised for the wellness center project through philanthropic efforts and/or from university funding sources, for a total of $15 million.

Under Wood’s leadership, the campus announced a $1 million gift to name the lobby of the new campus wellness facility from 1958 graduate Les Nielsen and his wife, June, and an additional anonymous gift for $1M for student scholarships; the Campus Advisory and Advancement Board was established to provide high priority programs and initiatives, actively support advancement, and enhance campus partnerships and service to the community, region and beyond; and in 2013, a strategic planning process was initiated. The campus also completed Heritage Hall, a new residence hall that opened during spring semester 2013 during Wood’s first year as chancellor.

During his tenure UMC added many new degree programs including exercise science and wellness, medical laboratory science, English, international business, entrepreneurship, finance, along with reestablishing a degree in agricultural education. When Wood arrived in 2012, there were 26 majors and 18 minors, today, there are 34 majors and 22 minors and the online programs have grown from 10 in 2012 to 14 degrees in 2016 available completely online.

One of the highlights for Wood is the award given to him by the student body for Outstanding Service to Students in a 2015 awards ceremony. A hallmark of Wood’s administration has been a focus on students and unwavering support for them as chancellor.  Wood acknowledged his pride in receiving the award saying, “There is no greater honor than an award from students. They must always be our top priority.”

The University of Minnesota Crookston now delivers over 100 academic programs with 34 bachelor degrees, 22 minors, and 40 areas of emphasis on campus as well as 14 degrees entirely online.  These programs are offered in the areas of agriculture and natural resources; business; liberal arts and education; and math, science and technology.  With an enrollment of 1,800 undergraduates from more than 20 countries and 40 states, the Crookston campus offers a supportive, close-knit atmosphere that leads to a prestigious University of Minnesota degree.  "Small Campus. Big Degree."  To learn more, visit


Andrew Svec

University Relations


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