Donor Story


UNM Engineering Alumnus Creates Endowment to Support Students’ Senior Design Projects

By Kim Delker

Posted December 11, 2019

Editor’s note: The following article comes to us from Kim Delker, marketing manager of the UNM School of Engineering.

Last fall, with a major gift to the UNM School of Engineering’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, UNM alumnus Ted Woodard created a significant endowment, the Ted Woodard Student Project Fund, which will distribute a substantial amount of earnings each year in support of students’ senior design projects. In addition, he donated a variety of electrical equipment he had collected throughout his career.

Left to right, Ted Woodard and his daughters, Rebecca, Kim and Susan, pose with a new friend during a dolphin swim in Florida.

Woodard received a BS degree in electrical engineering from UNM in 1983, and then went on to earn a master’s degree in telecommunications from the University of Colorado in Boulder.

As a student at UNM, Woodard said he remembers working in a co-op program, which allowed him to work one semester on, one semester off, to earn money for school while also gaining valuable experience. His work with the program made it possible for him to transition into top-secret U.S. Government work.

Woodard had a long career with the government that involved many highly-classified projects and missions. His roles included working as an aerospace engineer for the Defense Contract Management Agency of Lockheed Martin in Denver; the U.S. Army Space Command in Colorado Springs, Colo., and the office of the deputy undersecretary of defense in Arlington, Va.

When the toll of various health issues made keeping up with the demands of such sensitive work impossible, he retired from classified government work in 2003. He now lives in Colorado.

“Although my health issues have prevented me from being able to continue as an engineer,” said Woodard, “I am grateful to UNM for all it provided me.”

Woodard especially remembers doing a senior design project and having great difficulty buying the supplies he needed. He hopes this fund will help future students create and engineer their projects without the worry of cost.

“One of my favorite memories at UNM was working with my advisor Dr. Martin Bradshaw on my senior design project, which was a variable-diameter Savonius wind vane,” said Woodard. “The greatest compliment I ever received during school was when Dr. Bradshaw purchased my creation!”

Woodard said that he first began thinking about giving back to UNM after reading an article about Dana C. Wood, an alumnus from the Department of Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering, who made a transformational estate gift to programs in that department and for the Formula Society of Automotive Engineers program.

“Everyone takes for granted that they are going to live forever,” he said. “I’ve been given a chance to give back, and it’s important to take advantage of that when given the opportunity. I was here [at UNM] so long that there is a soft spot in my heart for the University.”

For more great stories like this, please click here.