Douglas B. Wood '74

From 1882 to 1914, the small town of Delphi, Ind., was home to a grand opera house featuring two or three performances per week. Perhaps it was something about the town’s operatic history that resonated in the life of Doug Wood when he was growing up there.

A Rector Scholar, Doug developed a talent and love of opera while studying vocal performance at DePauw. He fondly recalls the second semester of his junior year in Freiburg, Germany, studying voice with Professor Edward White. Doug credits DePauw Opera Theatre director Thomas J. Fitzpatrick, choral conductor Graeme Cowen and English professor Dr. Robert Sedlack as some of his greatest influences at DePauw. He was active in Delta Chi Fraternity, worked for The DePauw newspaper and WGRE radio and participated in The Collegians music group, DePauw Opera Theatre and musical theatre. He went on to earn a master’s degree in music from Indiana University.

In the late 1970s, Doug moved to Los Angeles where he began working as a unit driver in the film industry, driving cast and crew to and from the movie locations. His film industry work soon led him away from music into the realm of entrepreneurship. Today he owns Burlwood Group Inc., a manufacturer and distributor of premium wine, gourmet coffee and fine cigars under the La Perla Habana and Black Pearl trademarks.

Although he didn’t become a professional musician, Doug says he draws constantly from the broad knowledge, leadership skills and strong sense of community instilled by his DePauw education. He remains involved with the University’s School of Music, contributing to scholarships for high school-age participants in DePauw’s vocal arts camp and visits campus to attend performances and re-connect with fellow alumni, including his college classmate, Pamela Coburn, lyric soprano and James B. Stewart Distinguished Visiting Professor of Music. He is also a dedicated patron of the L.A. Opera where he is a member of the Music Center Founders.

Doug commends DePauw’s opera program for its recent growth and success, including the year-long interdisciplinary festival with the opera production as a focal point for a series of academic and artistic events involving students and faculty from across the liberal arts. He also loves the unique, forward-thinking programming of the 21st Century Musician Initiative at DePauw and the energetic leadership of both Mark McCoy, former dean of the School of Music and now University president, and Ayden Adler, current dean, who came to DePauw from the New World Symphony.

“The School of Music at DePauw and its pioneering 21st Century Musician Initiative provide a place for collaboration, experimentation and excellence in serious music that fosters more opportunities and creative ventures for all musicians,” Doug says.

He has established the Douglas B. Wood Endowed Scholarship Fund for the School of Music. “The scholarship support I received so many years ago provided me with opportunities to experience life outside small town Indiana,” he says. “Endowing this scholarship gives me joy knowing it will provide other young men and women with opportunities to explore their interests, travel, learn and discover their gifts and talents.”

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