Reporter 405, 30 June 1997


Derek Wood

Professor Derek Wood died on 21 June 1997

Derek Wood served as Dean of the Faculty of Medicine for seventeen years. He came to Leeds in 1960 as Professor of Pharmacology and Head of Department. He soon joined the planning team for the new Medical School and Hospital complex. In 1969, Professor Wood became Dean of Medicine, an appointment he held until his retirement in 1986.

The seventeen years of his tenure as Dean were as difficult as any in the Medical School’s history. Expansion was first the rage, with the development of a second teaching hospital and the introduction of a new curriculum. Then, before the planned expansion had been completed, Professor Wood was told to trim the sails to ride new economic storms. He led the School through retrenchment without complaint.

Professor Wood was a students’ dean, fighting their corner as necessary. No matter how junior the student or how fatuous the difficulty, students could be confident of a patient hearing and sympathetic advice from Professor Wood. Although student numbers increased greatly during his time as Dean, his personal knowledge of the students did not diminish.

When Professor Wood retired from the University, accolades abounded. The late Dr J Driver said that in his long experience of regional hospital authority work, he had not encountered anyone who had contributed so much. He attributed this to Professor Wood’s clear, logical thinking and absolute integrity and fairness. This tribute was typical of the feelings held by Professor Wood’s colleagues.

The University of Leeds Senate recorded a warm appreciation of Professor Woods on his retirement eleven years ago, wishing him a ‘long and happy retirement, which can seldom have been more deserved.’

Derek was a Lancastrian who left his mark in Yorkshire. He died, aged 76, peacefully at home in Lothersdale, leaving his wife Mary, four children David, Clare, Pippa and Peter and grandchildren.

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