"I believe I have the honor of representing the best client in this state: the University of Nebraska," Wood said. "I joined the University because it seemed like it would be a very challenging and professionally rewarding job. I have been very fortunate; it has met all of my expectations. Practicing law at a multi-campus system, at a major research university, allows you to handle a broad spectrum of legal matters. I have loved my work here."
For Wood, reflecting on his career as General Counsel is not an easy task. He has been a force at the University and overseer of legal affairs for almost 30 years, a time that spans four University presidencies and major change. "The University has always been a good institution, but the quality continues to improve. This is becoming a great University."
As universities have become more complex and regulation has increased in every aspect of the operations, the University's legal department has grown. Wood leads a staff of seven attorneys and is responsible for a wide range of legal issues. "The work load has certainly grown," Wood said. "But we also have worked hard to start handling almost all of our legal work in-house in a more effective and efficient manner."
NU President J.B. Milliken praised Wood for his impeccable integrity, outstanding judgment and distinguished record at the University. "Dick is a consummate professional, a highly principled man and an outstanding attorney and advisor. The University has benefited enormously from Dick Wood's service.
"I am the fourth University president to benefit from Dick's sound advice and good judgment. I know my predecessors would agree that Dick has been among the most valuable of colleagues. He was an early and important mentor to me from the time I first joined the University almost 20 years ago. I will miss him greatly."
Milliken said Wood has been the ideal person for the job of General Counsel, noting his experience in a wide range of legal matters and in public and private practice. "The University will miss his skilled and steady guidance on all our legal issues. I will miss him as a valuable colleague and a good friend at work."
Charles Wilson, chairman of the University of Nebraska Board of Regents, said he has deep respect for Wood.
Wilson noted that Wood has provided sound advice and direction for the Regents in all legal matters, as well as good judgment in interpretation of the Regents bylaws. "He is committed to the University. He will be missed."
Wood received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Iowa in 1960, and his law degree (J.D.) from the University of Nebraska in 1964. He joined the University in 1978 as General Counsel, and was additionally named Vice President in 1987.
He has a broad background in civil practice in the public and private sectors. Prior to coming to the University, Wood worked in private practice with the firm of Wood, Wolfe & Hurd in Lincoln. He was Assistant City Attorney for Lincoln from 1967-1970, City Attorney until 1975, and also worked as an attorney-examiner for the Nebraska Public Service Commission. From 1964 to 1966, Wood was a Captain in the Infantry of the U.S. Army.
Wood has been involved in the National Association of College and University Attorneys and the Nebraska State Bar Association, and is past chairman for the Judicial Administration Committee of the Lincoln-Lancaster Bar Association. He has served on the Nebraska Power Review Board, the Lincoln Charter Revision Commission, and the Bryan Memorial Hospital
Wood said he will miss his work with the University, but that he looks forward to relaxation, writing, working with family genealogy, and traveling. His wife is from Ukraine, and the couple plans to spend part of each year in the country's capital, Kiev.
Milliken said he will commence a search soon for Wood's successor.