When Jeff Wood arrived at the Monterey Institute of International Studies in 1985, he recalls, “some faculty offices were literally in closets.” He felt like he was taking a bit of a chance on a school with an uncertain reputation, but he believed in the president and the job that came with the opportunity to move to Carmel Valley with his family.
Jeff made the leap from Occidental College, where he was director of alumni and careers, and technically counted a young man named Barack Obama as one of his advisees, although he does not remember meeting him. Among other things, Jeff says he was drawn to the “start-up spirit” of the Institute.
Jeff had known then-president Bill Craig from when they were both working in Vermont in the 1970s. A graduate of Middlebury College, Craig is often remembered as the captain of a legendary football team from 1936.
“Everyone at the Institute called the president ‘Bill,’ but the head of facilities was ‘Mr. Campbell,’” says Jeff with a chuckle. Jeff saw that President Craig was in the process of “revitalizing the Institute” and clearly believed Jeff would be an important addition to his team.
It turns out he was right, and for 30 years Jeff has had immense impact on the lives of countless students and alumni through his solid guidance and counseling. That includes several of his coworkers and half the faculty now teaching in the Master of Arts in Translation and Interpretation program. “I still vividly remember them as students,” says Jeff.
He stays in touch with many of his former advisees and is an irreplaceable resource for alumni information and connections. A member of the Legacy Society, Jeff intends to stay connected to the Institute and says he might now finally have time to attend more events. “The interactions with people are what makes this place,” he says, and we could not agree more.
(For more stories about Institute students, alumni, faculty and staff, see the current issue of Communiqué.)