Mark Woods has been a University of San Diego philosophy professor for 12 years and a fan of USD athletics, particularly football, but his selection as USDâ€™s Professor of the Game at Thursday nightâ€™s menâ€™s basketball game has brought more exposure than he ever anticipated.
â€œSeveral people today have told me, â€˜Hey, I saw you were at the game last night,â€™â€ Woods said. He also saw a former student Thursday that took his environmental ethics class 10 years ago. â€œShe remembered I showed a film about meat (processing) and thatâ€™s what made her a vegetarian.â€
The short ceremony, during a first-half timeout, consisted of Woods getting a plaque from College of Arts and Sciences Dean Mary Boyd at center court, having his academic achievements read by the public address announcer and receiving applause from a sold-out crowd of 5,187, including several Marines from the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego. (Pictured, from left, are USD Athletics representativeÂ Brent LeVasseur, Associated Students President Sydney McRae, Woods and Boyd.)
â€œItâ€™s a great honor,â€ said Woods, who is also a former Marine. â€œIâ€™ve taught a lot of student-athletes and theyâ€™re some of the best students. I love USD athletics.â€
The Professor of the Game concept is new to USD, but not to Boyd. Her inspiration came from personal experience in 2004 when she was a chemistry professor at Loyola University of Chicago. She was honored at a menâ€™s basketball game. The student-nominated accolade meant so much to Boyd that she proudly lists it on her professional resume.
â€œThe Professor of the Game is a great partnership between students, athletics, Associated Students and academics. Itâ€™s a great way to bring everyone together,â€ Boyd said.
Professors are nominated through student e-mail submissions to Associated Students, which are forwarded to Boyd for consideration. â€œWe have a lot of great faculty who are very deserving of this recognition,â€ she says.
Woods is the fifth professor to be honored, following J.J. Schlichtman (Sociology), John Bowman (Communication Studies), Leeva Chung (Communication Studies) and Casey Dominguez (Political Science). The Professor of the Game ceremony will take place at remaining men and womenâ€™s basketball home games through February. Boyd said she hopes the ceremony can eventually be held at other USD sports home games.
â€” Ryan T. Blystone