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Alumnus, Retired Col. to address graduates at commencement

Alumnus, Retired Col. to address graduates at commencement

Posted on Friday, May 13, 2022

Graduation ceremony

Retired Col. F. Maxwell (Max) Wood ’81, the National Appeals Director for the United States Department of Agriculture, will be the featured speaker at LaGrange College’s 191st commencement ceremony at 8:30 a.m. May 21 at Callaway Stadium.

As the Director of the Office of Hearing and Appeals at the USDA, he oversees 30 administrative law judges. Prior to joining the USDA in 2019, he was the Attorney Advisor for Air Force Material Command at Robins Air Force Base in Warner Robins, Georgia.

Before retiring with the rank of Colonel in 2015, Wood served 34 years in part-time and full-time roles in the United States Air Force and Georgia Air National Guard. He worked as a Judge Advocate and a reserve Air Force officer, whose active-duty deployments included traveling to the Philippines, Iraq and Pakistan. While in Baghdad, he served one year as the Department of Justice Attache´ to the U.S. Embassy.

Wood’s experience in Iraq inspired him to write a book entitled “Iraq: Seeing the Real War,” which describes the Iraq War from his perspective in a spiritual context.

Max Wood“I felt it was a spiritual battle in Iraq,” Wood said. My spiritual journey over there impacted my Christian faith.”

He said he wrote the book to share his story.

“I wanted to tell one person’s story because history is made up of various stories put together,” Wood said. “Those who take the time to write down what they have observed are going to contribute to the overall historical narrative.”

In addition to his military service, Wood also has an extensive legal career that spans over 40 years. He said one of his most notable cases was United States v. York. Wood, who was the United States Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia from 2001-2009, said he prosecuted the largest child molestation case in the state’s history. In 2004, York was convicted on federal charges of child molestation and violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. He is serving a 135-year sentence in Florence, Colorado.

Growing up, Wood knew he wanted to work in the legal field.

“I started watching ‘Perry Mason’ when I was a kid and knew that was something I could do and wanted to do,” Wood said.

Wood graduated with a bachelor’s degree in history from LaGrange College in 1981 and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Georgia School of Law in 1985. He also received a post-graduate degree in 2004 from the Air War College at The Air University at Maxwell Air Force Base.

His first job out of law school was a clerk for the Hon. John A. Frazier Jr. of the Superior Court Rome Judicial Circuit in Rome, Ga. Upon leaving Rome, he served as a Staff Attorney for the Prosecuting Attorneys’ Council of Georgia and an Assistant District Attorney and Chief Assistant District Attorney for the Ocmulgee Judicial District. He also worked in the private sector for five years as a General Practitioner in his law firm in Macon.

Following his stint in private practice, Wood was appointed by President George W. Bush to serve as the U.S. Attorney for the 70-county Middle District of Georgia.

After working during both of President Bush’s terms in office, Wood continued his public service in the role of chief administrative law judge of the State of Georgia, where he spent six years working in the administration of former Governor Nathan Deal.

During his stint at the governor’s office, Wood spent a year of deployment at the U.S. Embassy in Pakistan. At the embassy, he served as General Counsel to the Commander.

Outside of work, Wood serves as the chairman of the international charity American Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East. The organization raises money for Iraqi Christian refugees in Jordan. The refugees are then given assistance from the foundation to travel back to Iraq.

“When I went to Iraq, I really grasped the challenges that Christians faced in countries where they are the minority,” Wood said.

Wood also served as the television host of an interview show called “Mosaic” on Christian Television Network. The program, which lasted for a year, featured the work the foundation and other organizations do in Iraq and the Middle East.

“I used it as a vehicle to highlight Christianity in Iraq as well as the larger Middle East,” Wood said. “It was a tremendous way to give people a chance to tell their story.”

Wood and his wife, Suzanne, have three children and reside in Macon.

 

Campus Notes

  • Faculty and staff members were honored Tuesday at the annual appreciation ceremony. Service awards were presented to: five years – Nick Beamenderfer, Dr. Sarah Holden, Dr. Preston James, Dr. Colby Jones, Dr. Molli Newman, Matthew Strother, Dr. Kelly Veal and Lanora Yates; 10 years – Michael Anderson, Dr. Christi Hu, Dr. Mark Yates and Kendal Wallace; 15 years – Dr. Elizabeth Appleby, Dr. Nickie Cauthen, Dr. Sharon Livingston and Rebecca Roth Nicks; 20 years – Cindi Bearden, Rob Dicks, Paul Hammock, Dr. Don Livingston and Dr. John Tures; 25 years – James Blackwood and Dr. Amanda Plumlee; and 30 years – Lisa Farrow, Dr. Bill McCoy and Dr. Carol Yin.

    Service Award recipients

  • The annual nurse pinning ceremony will be held Thursday, May 19, at 7 p.m. at First United Methodist Church of LaGrange. Scott Cody ’07, MSN, RN and CNL will be the guest speaker. He works in the ICU at Wellstar West Georgia Medical Center in LaGrange.
  • The baccalaureate service will be held Friday, May 20, at 5 p.m. at First United Methodist Church of LaGrange. The Rev. Dr. Alice Rogers, District Superintendent of the Gainesville, Georgia area of the North Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church, will be the guest speaker. On July 1, she will begin her work as Director of the Center for Clergy Excellence of the North Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church.
  • Congratulations to this semester’s graduating seniors who have registered to ring the Chapel Bell to celebrate their accomplishments. The list includes Jasmine Middleton (Education), offered a full-time job as a teacher at Rosemont Elementary in LaGrange; Noah Stanford (Education), offered a full-time job as a teacher at Clearview Elementary in LaGrange; Gracie Amonett (Education), offered a full-time job as a teacher at Clearview Elementary; Lindsay Estes (Education), offered a full-time job as a teacher at West Point Elementary in West Point; Olivia Baldwin (Education), offered a full-time job as a teacher at Sara Harp Minter Elementary in Fayetteville; Taylor Hill (Education), offered a full-time job as a teacher at Ethel Kight Elementary in LaGrange; Zoe Duncan (Education), offered a full-time job as a teacher at Flint Hill Elementary in Oxford; Mary Kate Tucker (Education), offered a full-time job as a teacher at Hogansville Elementary in Hogansville; JC Barnes (Education), offered a full-time job as a teacher at Callaway Middle School in LaGrange; McKenzie Reeves (Education), accepted a position as a teacher at Long Cane Middle School in LaGrange; Madison Hite (Education), is pursuing a position as a teacher at the middle or high school level; Baley Coleman (Education), was accepted into the Master of Arts in Teaching graduate program at LaGrange College; Jaden Robinson (Education), accepted a position as a math teacher at THINC Academy in LaGrange; Ryan Bullock (Education), was accepted into the Master of Arts in Teaching graduate program at LaGrange College; Karli Whitaker (Education), was accepted into the Master of Arts in Teaching graduate program at LaGrange College; Kellie Dudek (Nursing), accepted a position as a registered nurse with Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta; Madelynn Formby (Nursing), accepted a position as a registered nurse with East Alabama Medical Center in Opelika; Maurie White (Accountancy, Marketing and Entrepreneurship), accepted a position as a staff accountant at Gay and Joseph, CPA, PC; and Anna Robinson (Art and Design), accepted a graphic design internship with Milliken. Participants are invited to take photos and post them to social media with the hashtag #LCSoundofSuccess.

 

Video of the Week

One of the highlights of Inauguration Week '22 was the prayer service on April 20 at First United Methodist Church. The event featured choral music and an address by First Gentleman Mark Huffman.

 

Sports

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Baseball

Ranked fourth in the nation, the Panthers (35-6) host N.C. Wesleyan (28-15) in the USA South Tournament championship series. The best-of-three series begins Friday at 6 p.m. at Cleaveland Field in Williamson Stadium. Game 2 is Saturday at 2 p.m. and the if necessary third game will follow at 5:30 p.m. The Panthers are going for a fifth-straight tournament championship and a berth in the NCAA Division III Tournament for the fifth year in a row.

 

In the Headlines

Category: College

Keywords: military, graduation

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Last updated: 05/13/2022