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Stephen C. Wood

Profile Updated: October 27, 2016
Residing In:
Wakefield, RI USA
Professor of Communication and Film, University of Rhode Island, musician and photographer
Peter (1970) Ph.D. University of Pittsburgh, Theatre
David (1972) is a deputy sheriff in Spartanburg More…County, SC and has a delightful son Evan (2007).
NEW--7/20/11--Going back to the very beginning: Where'd you go to elementary school? What about recess and the games we played? Did you walk to school? Did you take your lunch? Did you go to recreation after school? How did you fill your summers?

I attended San Jose Elementary. I always liked recess (still do). I walked to school, and took my lunch money every day and jumped the wall to go to Cross Roads Market and get real food (not that slop they served in the cafeteria!). Mr. Roundtree, the principal, put an end to my culinary adventures. Summers were spent at San Jose because they had a great recreation program ran by Mr. Greene (Pomona HS's cross-country and track coach). Dirt clod battles in the field between San Jose Elementary and Cross Roads Market were interesting, too.

NEW--7/20/11--We never outgrow our youth, Part 1. Remember starting Junior High School? We got lockers for books and PE, going to a six period day, sock hops in gym, co-ed PE on Fridays when the guys and girls had to dance together? Do you remember all the new people you had to interact with? How about taken a shower in PE? What about J-Teen dances? What are your memories of that time?

Junior high: Emerson JHS and it opened a whole new world of friends, many of whom I hold dear to this day. I still remember Patty Brown and Robin Burke poking Jon Braden and I in the back with their bass bows (Jon and I were playing cello). Patty has been prodding me ever since. (But I soon changed to bass so I was equally armed!

NEW--7/20/11--We never outgrow our youth, Part 2. When we got to high school, we had to start over at the bottom of the pile again as sophomores. Remember those "big" kids driving cars to school? Having classes with those giant juniors and seniors? How about all those sports? What about the theater arts and music departments and their productions? What do YOU remember?

I spent my first year of high school at Pomona High and had to make new friends at GHS starting with my junior year. I feel doubly blessed to have great friends from both schools. Always competed in two sports (cross country, track and senior year tennis).

Music . . . forever (still do) from elementary to graduation. Orchestra and senior year Madrigals. Teahouse of the August Moon was my theatre moment and we had a ball. Most of all competitive debate, which began sophomore year at PHS continued to be a major influence in my life. I coached intercollegiate debate until 1992 and published several books and articles on argumentation and debate.

What’s your favorite memory of Ganesha HS?

Peter Philips is correct about driving around town in the brand new Cadillac convertible prior to it being used for Candy Hull's drive around MtSAC stadium for our Home Coming. But that is just one of hundreds of great memories including, but not limited to, harassing Cactus Jack (social studies teacher . . . I don't remember his real name, Mr. Wooten?) with various road signs and blinking work lights from a construction site. I remember once being informed (by Cactus Jack of all people) that a certain two seniors (Pete Philips and I) would not be graduating if a certain 1/2 telephone pole was not removed from the Superintendent of Schools driveway! (Peter was dating the Superintendent's daughter at the time.) Ah, high school - - - I remember playing "tag" with our cars and hiding for what seemed like hours as the cops were parked outside Charlie MacDonald's house as Pete and I were in the middle of tee-peeing Charlie's house. Peter and I visited Charlie during his last few good days on this earth.

Least favorite memory?

On reflection, I can think of two: 1. the killing of President Kennedy (I was in math class when the announcement came), and 2. singing at Candy Hull's mother's funeral (I was glad the Madrigals could do it, but it was so very sad). I have a new least favorite memory, not seeing many of you as often as I would like. But you can find me on Facebook or look at some of my photography on my web site or listen to some of my music on YouTube.

School Story:

Oh, my . . . so many memories. I remember Madrigals, orchestra, jazz band, my own folk trio. I remember debating with Peter Philips and running cross country with Bobby Tarjan and Peter Philips. I loved our production of Teahouse of the August Moon (which I directed a few years later when I was teaching high school). So many memories . . . in part, it's why we have reunions: to share our collective memories.

Favorite teacher?

Mrs. Lepp ... Emerson Jr. High and at Ganesha. Many good teachers, but Mrs. Lepp was in a class all her own.

NEW--7/20/11--Just what was it about your favorite teacher that you liked? Was it the "No-Homework" policy that gives you fond memories? Funny? Made you think? Let you out of class early? Easy grader?

Mrs. Lepp was tough, her expectations high. But she was fundamentally concerned about us as students, as individuals. Many of us spent afternoons just hanging around her classroom after school (especially when I had her at Emerson JHS). Always with the homework, minimally five vocabulary words a day plus the regular course work. I still use those vocabulary works and baffle many of my college students. I guess they are too diffident. (Mrs. Lepp would only give me half credit for using diffident in a sentence since it is sort of accurately used, but not quite.)

NEW--7/20/11--Remember learning to drive and earning your passport to freedom? Did you take Driver's Ed in school? Did you pass the driving test the first time you took it?

Took drivers education with Bobby Tarzan . . . how is that possible? He's a year younger than most of us. Hmmmmm. I think he had a fender bender (right or wrong Bobby?). (By the way, just how proud are we of Dr. Robert Tarzan!) My memory may not be firing on all cylinders on this question. I did pass my drivers exam the first time . . . in my dad's Chevy Nova! Ironically, I took the entire test with the parking brake on. At the very end of the test the examiner asked me to set the parking brake. Since it was already set, I just pretended to set it.

NEW--7/20/11--Remember your first accident and your first ticket? Tell us what how they happened.

First accident was a very minor fender bender with Peter Philips' '56 Ford station wagon. A beautiful blond I had just met was sitting beside me and my eyes wandered! My first ticket (1967) was also woman instigated! Driving in Pomona on a main drag in the left lane, my new bride, Judi, said "Turn Here!" I did. I wasn't in the left-hand turn lane and the officer was kind enough to remind me of that with a ticket. I did not get another ticket for forty years!

NEW--7/20/11--Remember your first wheels? What were they and how did you get them? (If you have a picture, please post one in the Photo Gallery/My First Car)

'52 Chevy chocolate brown convertible which I shared with my brother Rick. Couldn't drive it on the freeway, it would not go that fast. Peter Philips "Chariot", '56 Ford station wagon was like a second car to me. The first car I bought that was all mine was a hard-top convertible Reneault Caravelle . . . a sporty little thing that ran lousy. I'll try to remember to post photos.

NEW--7/20/11--Most of us were in class when they announced that President Kennedy had been shot. What do you remember specifically? What did you do after we were sent home that day?

I just remember being in Mr. Bender's class and I don't even remember being sent home, so I certainly don't remember what I did that day. I do remember that my dad thought there was a bit too much hysteria. When Bobby was shot, I was a few blocks away having decided at the last minute to skip the event.

Favorite hangout?

Where ever my friends were . . . pizza joints, Mel's, etc.

NEW--7/20/11--Where did you go after school? At night? On weekends? How often?

The F.B.I. has locked up that information until 2075 as a matter of national security.

NEW--7/20/11--What date do you remember most, and why? Was it the conversation, food, movie, song, holding hands or the kiss that made it so memorable?

This is all highly classified information. Ask me at the next reunion.

Secret crush in high school?

Patty Brown (PHS) from junior high school to today! But it's secret, so don't tell her. We remain good friends to this day.

NEW--7/20/11--What cool rhythms and crazy vibes stir fond memories of the past, and what were the occasions?

If I get cool rhythms and crazy vibes, I go straight to my doctor to find out what's wrong!

NEW--7/20/11--What WERE your thoughts about retirement back in our youth?

Retirement was something old people did. Now that I'm an old people, it is something that older than me people do. I'm still teaching (since 1969), really enjoying the university schedule and perks. As long as my health holds, I may remain at my post.

NEW--7/20/11--What ARE your current thoughts about retirement?

I asked my good friend and economist Peter Philips, Ph.D., about that and he counseled me to keep on teaching and just have a hearse on call outside my academic office. Not bad advice. But how come economists seem to have a lot to say and never fix the economy?

NEW--7/20/11--Are you retired, getting ready to retire, having a working retirement, or will you ever retire? Thinking about a cold brew and rocking chair on the porch? Hitting the links each day, going fishing whenever you feel like it? Maybe a new hobby like wood carving or restoring antiques? Where are you planning on going from here?

My hobbies of photography and music are a part of my day to day being . . . Thankfully my university schedule gives me time for my hobbies. My photos can be viewed on my website:


If you have any trouble seeing my images on this site, then email me at MuleyPoint@cox.net.

What do you do now?

I am a professor of Communication and Film Studies at the University of Rhode Island. I have been here since 1982. My research areas are argumentation and debate, political rhetoric and the rhetoric of both music and film. I teach a class in The Rhetoric of Sports in Film and a class in The Rhetoric of Music. Hey, someone's got to do it!

NEW--7/20/11--Did you work while going to school? Where? What do you remember?

Worked part time for a land surveyor assistant (you know, the guy holding the stick). We'd leave Pomona early the morning (weekends) and drive to Arrowhead, survey some lots, drive home and called it a day! Good money, little work, beautiful scenery. I also helped to do the finish work in an apartment building (hired and fired Pete Philips--he's still mad about that) that was really very little work, lots of time off and good pay.

REVISED--7/20/11--Past jobs. What events and jobs lead you to your various vocations?

Before the University of Rhode Island, I was at the University of Maryland as an instructor as I earned my Ph.D. Before that, I was a graduate assistant at the University of Maine while earning my M.A.. Before that, I taught high school at Biddeford High (Maine) for 7 years right after finishing my undergraduate work at CalPoly. While at Biddeford, part of what I did was direct theatre and I directed Teahouse of the August Moon, Bye Bye Birdie and Little Abner (all inspired by GHS productions). While at Mt. SAC and CalPoly, I worked at Ruffing Music store and for Wayne Book Photography. (Strange, my two hobbies continue to be photography and music!)

What do you like to do in your spare time?

Music and photography. Maybe I'll post some of each on this site. But in case I don't, some of my photography can be seen at photobywoodphoto.zenfolio.com and some of my music can be heard on youtube by searching for DocWood47.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NHHxTFllTC4 = Cherokee Shuffle, instrumental
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LO9yRlweryY = Amazing Grace
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bwETZQWIe9k = Old Love
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NVGwIHIOwmg = Beyond the Sunset (hymn)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lSg9bxLfgy0 = South Africa photography/video

Travel much?

More than some, less than others. Photo outings are the most common and include, in recent years, Death Valley, Zion, Bryce, the Four Corners area, Everglades, San Miguel de Allende (Mexico), Oklahoma, New Mexico, Colorado, Yellowstone, Tetons (with a special guided tour by Ranger, aka Ph.D., Peter Philips), San Francisco, Oregon Coast & Columbia River Gorge. South Africa, October 2011--what a trip. If you haven't seen the photos, let me know. I may post the YouTube links for a few videos I shot in HD.

Repeated visits to photograph NYC with my co-author/colleague David Pincus. Last trip, to finish our project, was August 2016. On the last night of shooting, we were on a small rocky beach at the base of the Brooklyn Bridge looking at the Manhattan skyline (beautiful). I finished shooting, turned to leave the beach and slipped on the rocks. I dislocated and broke my right ankle! Brooklyn emergency hospital fixed me up to travel back home to Rhode Island. Surgeons said I needed surgery (Aug. 23, 2016). Final surgery is set for Nov. 8 (a big day for Hillary and Trump, too). Should be walking again soon.

REVISED--7/20/11--Places you want to go? Where would you like to travel?

I love traveling around New England, upstate NY, and I love the west and never tire of the scenery. I had a great time working with a National Geographic photographer in Mexico and another in the Yellowstone. There is so much beauty in this country that I'm not often tempted to travel outside the country, but New Zealand or Cuba is calling.

I also enjoy vicarious travel by our fellow GHS alum as they post their photos on Facebook.

How often do you get back to Pomona?

Once every 18-24 months. I'm overdue--long overdue.

Where else have you lived?

Born in Connecticut, lived in Nebraska (1 year), grew up in Pomona (grades 1-12 plus Mt.SAC and CalPoly), lived in Maine (1969-1978), Maryland (1979-1982) and Rhode Island (since 1982).

NEW--7/20/11--Where would you like to live?

If I was filthy rich, I might have a home in Hawaii, California, New Mexico, and Africa. But I'm not filthy rich and I don't mind having to save my money to visit these wonderful places. Luckily, I have a small place (good for retirement) near the beach in a resort community.

Do you still see/talk to/hang out with any classmates? Who?

Peter Philips remains my closest friend from that time period and we manage to keep in touch and see each other from time to time. He is the name-sake for my oldest son. I really enjoy reigniting my friendship with Emerald Stara (Jacquie Good) and others like Chris Holm and Charles MacDonald. Before Charles MacDonald passed on, Peter Philips and I spent some quality time with him . . . good memories, a sad passing.

What would we be surprised to know about you?

That I have so little gray hair! . . . and so little hair compared to high school. Although since first writing this, the percentage of gray hair is increasing. My career path is surprising to me, if you had told me in high school that I was going to earn a Ph.D., teach at a university and chair the largest department on campus for over 12 years, I would have broken into uncontrollable laughter.

Any vices?

Music and photography. I spend too much time and too much money on each, but like all vices, I like all my vices!

Any gray hair yet?


NEW--7/20/11--Are you telling the truth about the gray hair?


Anything else we should know?

Nothing that's not classified or readily available on-line or at our next reunion!

Any words of wisdom?

"Pain makes one think,
Thought makes one wise,
Wisdom makes life endurable."
(Sakini, Teahouse of the August Moon)

Stephen C.'s Latest Interactions

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Mar 24, 2020 at 8:47 AM

Happy Birthday!

Mar 09, 2020 at 11:21 AM

Happy Birthday, Doug! My best wishes for the coming year.

Feb 12, 2020 at 7:20 AM

Happy Birthday, young man! I hope all is well with you and Nancy. Have a great year!!!

Dec 26, 2019 at 5:02 AM

Happy Birthday! Best wishes for the coming year. Steve

Nov 23, 2019 at 8:33 AM

Happy Birthday, young lady! Best wishes for the coming year. Steve

Nov 04, 2019 at 12:48 PM

Happy Birthday young man! Hope all is well. Tennis, anyone?

Stephen C. Wood has a birthday today.
Jun 30, 2019 at 1:34 AM
Stephen C. Wood posted a message. New comment added.
Jun 05, 2019 at 1:21 PM

Posted on: Jun 05, 2019 at 8:48 AM

Happy Birthday, young man! You have my best wishes for the coming year! Steve

Stephen C. Wood posted a message. New comment added.
Apr 30, 2019 at 7:08 AM

Posted on: Apr 30, 2019 at 6:51 AM

Happy Birthday, Bob. My best wishes for the coming year.

Stephen C. Wood posted a message. New comment added.
Mar 09, 2019 at 1:15 PM

Posted on: Mar 09, 2019 at 1:14 PM

Thought you'd enjoy this photograph. Steve

Mar 09, 2019 at 11:45 AM

Happy Birthday young man! Best wishes for the coming year. Steve

Jan 03, 2019 at 6:58 AM

Birthday! Birthday! Birthday! Seems like you have one every year around the same time! Hope it's a good one! Steve

Dec 27, 2018 at 4:57 AM

Happy belated birthday. I hope you had a good day and best wishes for the coming year.

Stephen C. Wood posted a message. New comment added.
Nov 12, 2018 at 2:15 PM

Posted on: Nov 05, 2018 at 11:05 AM

Happy (pre-maturely) Birthday ! Early, just in case I forget. Steve

Jul 03, 2018 at 5:31 AM

Happy Birhday, Tim. May this year be a great one for you.

Stephen C. Wood has a birthday today.
Jun 30, 2018 at 1:33 AM
Jun 26, 2018 at 9:29 AM

Happy Birthday, Chris . . . best wishes for the coming year. Steve

Jun 06, 2018 at 10:19 AM

Happy Birthday! Best wishes for the coming year.

Stephen C. Wood posted a message. New comment added.
Aug 03, 2018 at 9:00 AM

Posted on: Jun 05, 2018 at 4:02 PM

Happy Birthday, Tim. It was great catching up with recently. Best wishes for the coming year.

Jun 02, 2018 at 6:43 AM

Happy Birthday! Best wishes for the coming year!

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Posted: Oct 27, 2016 at 7:42 AM
Posted: Dec 16, 2013 at 10:08 PM
GHS portrait, I didn't like it so I didn't buy any, but the next year I was working at Wayne Book Photography and had full access to all my negatives. Access didn't make me like the photos so this is scanned from the yearbook.
Posted: Dec 16, 2013 at 10:08 PM
Pat Cadam and I bumped into one another at the Denver Airport, 9 June 2010. We were on the same flight to Chicago.
Posted: Dec 16, 2013 at 10:08 PM
Charlie MacDonald designed this logo for Pete Philips unsuccessful bid for VP. R.I.P. Charles, we miss you!
Posted: Dec 16, 2013 at 10:08 PM
Jon Dember on the left and I'm on the right (superior powers of deduction) . . . we play as "Farm Dog." You can hear us on YouTube by going to YouTube and searching on DocWood47.
Posted: Dec 16, 2013 at 10:08 PM
This is a sketch an artist made of me while playing at Casey Farm, a 300 year old farm that overlooks the ocean. Eventually, the artist turned the sketches into a water color that sold for $800 -- really, I'm not kidding.
Posted: Dec 16, 2013 at 10:08 PM
Here's the water color, and no, I didn't buy it!
Posted: Dec 16, 2013 at 10:08 PM
From 1964, my folk group doing a mid-day gig at Chaffey Junior College. John and I had to get permission from the PHS & GHS administrations respectively to cut classes for the gig. John Gribbin from PHS is on the left and Berle Maxey from Claremont is in the middle (he was a freshman at Chaffey). Later, John left the group and Jacque Good (now Emerald Stara) joined the group.
Posted: Dec 16, 2013 at 10:08 PM
My father, Bill Wood, an English teacher at Marshal Junior High School.