A host of family, friends, alumni, and university officials gathered directly after the annual Jackson State University National Alumni Association (JSUNAA) Mid-winter council meeting to witness the dedication and ribbon cutting ceremony in honor of the late Terry L. Woodard.
The Sonic Boom of the South initiated the program with a performance of Smokey Robinson’s infamous song “Get Ready.” Yolanda Owens, former President of JSUNAA, elucidated that Woodard chose to attend Jackson State because of an outstanding performance he had witnessed by the legendary band.
President Bynum then addressed the crowd with his “university commercial” and proceeded to share his memories of Woodard, noting that he initially met the notable alumnus while they both were working at Clark Atlanta University in the early 90’s.
During his speech, Bynum specified that “Woodard was very deserving of this naming opportunity because he shared his time, talents and treasures with the university.”
“While we are always happy with the time and talent that people give to their alma mater and our students; it is so important especially due to the limited number of students choosing to attend historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) that alumni financially contribute as well,” says Bynum. “Terry is now the golden standard because he gave not only during his lifetime but through the planned gift that he left to Jackson State.”
Throughout his lifetime, the eminent alumnus donated massive amounts of monetary gifts to assist with student scholarships, activities and athletics. He also volunteered his efforts in multiple capacities to JSU including serving as a two-time President for JSUNAA. For the duration of his term, he was affectionately known for his campaign tag line, “Taking the Organization to Another Level.” Woodard efforts as JSUNAA President proved that he was the T.O.T.A.L. package.
“Our 17thPresident exemplified the meaning of a great alumnus—service and giving. This ballroom symbolizes everything that Terry stood for,” says current JSUNAA President, Dr. Earlexia Norwood. “It is a meeting place where all people can come together and recognize the greatness of this university and connect with their purpose.”
During the ceremony, Woodard’s niece, Dr. Theresa Woodard-Bonds spoke passionately about her uncle’s love for their family and hometown—Gloster, Mississippi. “This naming opportunity is astronomical for our family and the town of Gloster,” Woodard-Bonds said. “It is the best way to honor Terry and our family that he loved so dearly. He has set a standard for our family and the many generations to come.”
After his tenure as President of the alumni association, Woodard became a member of the JSU Development Foundation Board eventually serving in the position of treasurer. JSUDF chair, Debra McGee informed the crowd that the board has initiated the Terry L. Woodard Board Scholarship in his memory. The ongoing scholarship totaling $17,000 will support deserving students at JSU.
Prior to his tenure as national President, Woodard also served as local President for both the Houston Area and Metro Atlanta chapters. Woodard’s confidant, mentee and JSUNAA Presidential successor Yolanda Owens tearfully reminisced of her friend to the audience during the unveiling and ribbon cutting dedication. “I met Terry during his reign as Metro Atlanta chapter President and the conversation was me telling him what he could have done better—and he was very open to my constructive criticism which led to a friendship that I will treasure forever.”
Owens later expressed her infinite admiration for her friend stating that he was a JSU legend loved by many and respected by all. “For me, this naming opportunity gave validation to what everyone always thought about Terry—he was amazing and incredible,” says Owens. “He has a remarkable legacy and this is what seals the deal for us. In a sense, it validates the relationship between Terry, the alumni association and the university. To see his name on the wall is a constant reminder of everything he stood for and everything he gave to Jackson State.”