Centenary Remembers David Womack

During the 2008-09 year, we were fortunate enough to have David Womack serve as our Dean of Student Life. Though we lost David unexpectedly on August 29, 2009, the Centenary community will long remember David's tremendous impact on campus life in his too short time with us. His delightful sense of humor and ongoing optimism were sources of inspiration that will be missed.

In that light, we've assembled a video looking back upon David's time here:

A memorial service was held for David on September 3, 2009, after which he was posthumously awarded the title Vice President and Dean of Student Life.

Below is an excerpt from Reverend Betsy Eaves's memorial service sermon.

There were no "nobodies" in this world for David Womack. Your status or title made no difference to him. He tried to learn your name and then he called you by name. He stopped to ask how you were doing. It didn't matter whether you were meeting with him in the Nelson Board Room of Hamilton Hall, walking across campus, cutting the grass, making lattes at Randles or meeting with him in his office. He made every person he encountered feel as if we mattered. When you walked into a room even if it was full of people, he looked up and acknowledged you with that smile and twinkle in his eye…as though he had just been waiting for you to arrive. He made everyone feel special. There were no nobodies in David's world.

He was committed to diversity and to issues of social justice. In the everyday encounters with students, staff, faculty, trustees, he invited every voice. One of his favorite words was collaboration. Collaborate. Collaborate. Collaborate. But, he did more than talk about it. He lived it. He was a bridge builder. He walked across campus….to every corner of campus. He listened to other opinions. He was willing to be wrong and willing to say he was sorry. He invited dialogue and debate and conversation. Oh, he had convictions….often strong ones. But, he never thought the issues were more important than the people. He refused to attack people who thought differently. He grappled with ideas, not people. He loved a good debate. But, at the end of the day, he sought to build bridges, not walls. He gave heart and soul to the idea that we are stronger when we stand together than we are when we are divided. He believed in working together as one toward a common goal.

Dean Womack understood church-related liberal arts education as well as anyone I know. He understood academic freedom and moral integrity. He understood the value of a big table with a lot of voices and a strong leader. He understood guiding and mentoring and learning and teaching in a diverse, supportive environment. He believed in educating people until they had wings to fly.