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Reflections & Connections

Chuck Woods:
Never a dull moment!


After 42 years on the communications faculty of the University of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, retirement really is the golden opportunity to do all the things I never had time for when we had to "go make the donuts." It's true what they say: Once you're enjoying an active retirement, you wonder how there was time for a full-time job!
Gainesville became home almost by accident thanks to my parents' decision to retire in Florida. My father was a U.S. Army colonel, and we lived in New York City; Frankfurt, Germany; Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Washington, D.C. and Tokyo, Japan.  After graduating from Tokyo American High School in 1959, I enrolled at UF and never left. After finishing graduate school in UF's College of Journalism and Communications, I joined the IFAS faculty as an assistant professor and extension communications specialist in 1966. Back then, tenure was automatic after three years on the job.

Since retiring from IFAS in 2008, my days have been busy spending time with friends, social groups, bike riding and gym workouts, gardening and other home projects, freelance writing and photography, volunteer work with local political action committees and civic organizations, plus travel in the U.S. as well as Canada, the Caribbean, Europe and South America. I am currently serving on the board of directors of my neighborhood association and recently wrapped up 25 years of service on Gainesville’s City Beautification Board.  When you live in the same town for more than 50 years, it seems you know everyone.

Gainesville is a great college town and a wonderful place to retire, thanks to great winter weather, a diverse population of interesting, progressive-thinking people from all over the world and an amazing arts community. It's easy to take advantage of the area's many natural attractions, including beaches and world-class springs, educational and cultural events -- gala openings at UF’s Harn Museum of Art, University Gallery and other art venues, plus excellent Broadway shows, jazz, dance and other productions at UF's Phillips Center for the Performing Arts. The Hippodrome State Theater and art house cinema is top-notch, and The Gainesville Orchestra, which often performs at Santa Fe College's new Fine Arts Hall, is superb. People like it here and this is home!

And, speaking of politics, I recently completed work with the University of Central Florida in Orlando on an award-winning documentary about Florida's notorious Johns Committee that attempted to purge Communists, gays and lesbians from the University of Florida campus in the early 1960s. "The Committee" video can be seen by clicking here. For  information on the award, please go here.

Above: Chuck Woods sits in front of a $2.l million Bugatti sports car at the Concours d'Elegance car show and auto auction held in March at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel on Amelia Island near Jacksonville. The event is one of two premier car shows and auto auctions held in the U.S. each year, the other being the famed Concours d'Elegance in Pebble Beach, Calif.


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