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Over his 35-year tenure at the University of Denver, Craig Woody made a tremendous impact on the institution and the business and financial officer profession. Woody, who retired in 2019, has received the 2020 Rodney H. Adams Endowment Management Award for a career’s worth of outstanding contributions.

Woody joined the University of Denver as a controller in 1984. Coming from the accounting firm that later became KPMG, he had worked on teams for higher education clients but never directly for an institution.

At the University of Denver, “I was the one person who knew something about financial reporting, as opposed to one of about 30 managers in the office,” Woody said. “I found that rather intriguing.”

After a decade, Woody was promoted to senior vice chancellor for business and financial affairs and treasurer, a position he would hold for the next 25 years. With a management philosophy of delegation with accountability, he gave staff who could “do something as well as or better than” he the leeway to perform, with clear metrics to track their impact. Under Woody, the business and finance department achieved marked successes in facilities management, campus safety, and endowment management, to name a few.

During his tenure, the University of Denver’s endowment ballooned from $25 million to more than $700 million. Though Woody is quick to credit the strength of the institution’s programs as the lead drivers of endowment growth, he was an unquestionably pivotal figure who helped to lead the creation of the university’s spending policy as well as the foundational analysis and implementation of its UPMIFA compliance.

“Following in his footsteps has been made easier by the incredible work that he did in his long DU career, particularly in the area of endowment management,” the University of Denver’s current senior vice chancellor, Leslie Brunelli, said of her predecessor.

Woody also used his expertise to benefit the business officer profession as a whole. He frequently helped plan the NACUBO Endowment and Debt Management Forum and presented at the inaugural NACUBO Fellows Program meeting. He served on, and later chaired, the Research Universities Council. Woody also participated in NACUBO’s annual Advocacy Day and advocated for endowment spending policies that preserve purchasing power during testimony to the Colorado General Assembly House and Senate committees.

Before retiring, Woody guided the institution’s transition to a primarily outsourced CIO model, a decision handed down from the University of Denver Board of Trustees.

“Through Craig’s guidance, the implementation of this model serves DU well,” Brunelli said.

Learn more about the NACUBO Awards and nominate an outstanding colleague or institution for recognition.

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