Dr. Vicky and Rodney Wood create First Gen Forward Scholarship at MTC

Marion Technical College alumna, educator, and leader Dr. Vicky Wood, along with her husband, Rodney, created a scholarship to assist other first-generation college students.

Both Vicky and Rodney Wood are first-generation community college graduates. They firmly believe their two-year degrees changed their lives, according to a news release.

“Marion Tech opened doors for me. Taking those first steps opened so many opportunities,” said Vicky Wood.

She remembers visiting Marion Tech during her senior year in high school. Joel Liles, the admissions director, helped her map out a way to start at Marion Tech and then continue on to earn a bachelor’s degree. Liles also helped her identify ways to pay for college.

Marion Technical College alumna Dr. Vicky Wood and her husband Rodney have created the First Gen Forward Scholarship at Marion Tech to assist other first-generation college students.
Marion Technical College alumna Dr. Vicky Wood and her husband Rodney have created the First Gen Forward Scholarship at Marion Tech to assist other first-generation college students.

“I took his advice and followed that path throughout my college experience. This advice, along with the support of many people at MTC and the career opportunities provided to me, changed my life. I will forever be grateful,” she said.

From those first classes, Vicky Wood became a student worker and earned her associate degree and started working as a support staff member at Marion Tech. She continued her education and earned a doctorate in higher education leadership, according to the release.

Wood's achievements at Marion Tech

Vicky Woods became a faculty member and worked her way up to chief academic officer and provost.

She started one-night-a-week accelerated classes to help working adults earn business degrees at Marion Tech. She also oversaw the successful growth of the College Credit Plus program, serving more than 1,000 local high school students who earn college credit at no cost.

She started a graduate pathways program with Marion Harding to help students earn certificates or associate degrees by the time they graduated from high school. It was so successful, it was expanded to other local high schools.

“She had a profound impact on the school and the community,” said Mike Stuckey, director of the Marion Technical College Foundation, in the release. “She has touched thousands of lives.”

Vicky Wood served Marion Tech for 32 years. She is one of the first inductees of the Alumni Hall of Fame. Six years ago, she became president of Washington State Community College in Marietta.

Community college experience shaped her career

“My community college experience fostered my passion for helping others change their lives through higher education, which has been my lifelong career,” Vicky Wood said.

Marion Tech always will hold a special place in her heart.

“This institution gave me a vision and a direction for my life. My experience here was the first step in my journey to where I am today," she said.

“We are so grateful for the Woods’ generosity,” Stuckey said. “She has spent her career helping students succeed. This is just another way they are eliminating barriers to brighter futures.”

Marion Tech serves more than 3,000 students. The average age is 27. With small class sizes, hands-on learning and personal attention, Marion Tech serves a variety of students and their needs.

The first award from the new endowed fund will be given to a student for fall semester 2025. For more information, or to make a donation for the new scholarship fund, visit mtc.edu.

This article originally appeared on Marion Star: Marion Tech has new scholarship for first-generation college students