Areas of Impact
Tuition assistance. Faculty support. The Woodberry Forest campus. Each priority of the campaign is focused on allowing the school to educate boys.
A gift to support tuition assistance helps us ensure every boy with the talent and will to succeed at Woodberry can become a Tiger, regardless of his family’s ability to pay.
A gift to support the faculty allows us to attract and retain the best faculty and staff who embrace Woodberry’s core values and are committed to building their careers here as they pass those values on to the boys here now and the boys yet to come.
A gift to the Walker Building recognizes that Woodberry has always enjoyed a sense of place, with the Walker Building at the heart of the student experience for the past 120 years, and for many decades to come.
Meet The Team
The entire Woodberry experience is built on the work of men and women who came before us. Whether you graduated last year or long ago, whether you are a current parent or your son is now a parent himself, the campus and culture you enjoyed at Woodberry is the product of decades of philanthropic support from alumni, parents, and friends. The Campaign for the Boys is our chance to step forward and guarantee the transformational Woodberry experience for boys here now and boys yet to come.
– Byron Hulsey '86
The Asherman Family
Faculty Endowment Fund Established in Honor of Joe Coleman ’79
The Asherman Family Fund In Honor Of Joseph G. Coleman ’79 will support faculty recruitment and honor Joe’s service to Woodberry Forest School. In his twenty-four years at Woodberry, Joe Coleman ’79 has shaped the lives of thousands of boys.
Headmaster Byron Hulsey ’86 spent a year in Joe’s English class when he was a new boy and Joe a new faculty member fresh out of Princeton University. Many boys remember campus tours and interviews with Joe — or hearing from him that they’d been admitted — during his fifteen years in the admission office, which he eventually led as its director.
For the past eight years, Joe has served as dean of students, responsible for the day-to-day health and well-being of four hundred teenage boys. When a student is sick, dealing with a family emergency, or facing disciplinary issues, Joe gets the call. He brings compassion, care, and patience to each situation he handles.
After the current school year ends, Joe and Mary, his wife and Woodberry’s former director of donor relations, will move to Charlottesville where Joe will begin a new job later this summer.
When they learned of Joe’s retirement, Philip and Ellen Asherman and their three sons — Lucas ’15, Ford ’19, and Turner ’19 — knew they wanted to honor his years of service to Woodberry. After consulting with their boys, Philip and Ellen created the Asherman Family Fund In Honor Of Joseph G. Coleman ’79. This fund, which is open to donations from all members of the community who wish to support the faculty and honor Joe, will provide professional development resources to help Woodberry retain great faculty and, as the Ashermans put it, “hire the next generation of Joes.”
“We could never adequately express our gratitude to the faculty and staff who have meant so much to Lucas, Turner, and Ford,” Philip Asherman said. “By honoring Joe Coleman’s devotion to all the young men at Woodberry Forest School, our family celebrates his caring leadership over the years. Joe sets the standard to which future faculty should aspire. He will be missed.”
Bill Hudgins '68 and Wilda Dodson
Walker Society Members Bill Hudgins and Wilda Dodson ’68
When Bill Hudgins ’68 and Wilda Dodson were preparing their estate plans, both wanted to recognize Woodberry’s impact on Bill’s life.
Bill came to Woodberry from the small, southside Virginia town of Victoria, entering as a fifth former.
“I was really in need of a place where I could grow intellectually,” Bill says. “I had a lot of catching up to do and was literally learning to write in those years.”
So as Bill and Wilda were planning, each decided to make a bequest and to join the Walker Society. Wilda’s gift will establish a tuition assistance fund named after Bill, while Bill’s gift will fund a scholarship named after his parents.
“A lot of our property and assets are in our individual names, so making individual bequests lets the school receive a gift when one of us dies rather than after we both pass away,” Wilda says.
The writing skills that Bill acquired as a Tiger certainly served him well. He went on to earn a degree at Columbia University before embarking on a career in journalism that continues to this day. After working at the Nashville Banner he edited several magazines, including one called Road King that was aimed at long-haul truckers and another, American Spirit, that is the magazine of the Daughters’ of the American Revolution. Bill remains a contributor to American Spirit and recently wrote a piece on The Residence for the magazine.
Throughout his life, Bill has leaned on values learned at Woodberry.
“I really embraced the honor system,” he says. “It’s shaped my character and given me a basis to know if I was doing what was right and being fair to people.”
Wilda, a graduate of Rhodes College and the University of Tennessee’s College of Law, practiced law for several years before a lengthy career as a financial advisor with Edward Jones.
“I come from a family that believes in education,” Wilda says. “We’re so impressed with the campus and the people at Woodberry, and we also love the sense of continuity and want to help that continue.”
Century-Long Partnership between Matthews and Belk Families Inspires Woodberry Scholarship
Only a decade after William Henry Belk started the first Belk Department Store in 1888, he brought J. Houston Matthews and his four brothers to work in the business. Henry Belk personally trained the five brothers, subsequently invited them to join the business as partners and managers, and sent them out to open stores in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Texas.
In Belk: A Century of Retail Leadership, the Matthews brothers are identified as the Belk family’s longest continuous partners. They exemplified the loyalty of the partners to Henry Belk and the family style that characterized the Belk operation. The partnership lasted from 1898 to 2015, when the New York-based private equity firm Sycamore Partners bought the business.
Houston’s son, B. Frank Matthews II, and grandson, Gene R. Matthews II, followed the family tradition as partners, stockholders, directors, officers, and managers in the Belk family of stores.
“It is hard to overestimate the importance of the business and personal relationship between our family and the Belks,” Gene said. “William Henry Belk, pioneer merchant in the South, molded, shaped, and nurtured the Matthews men into top merchants in the Belk organization. Our family will always be grateful for our long relationship with the entire Belk family.”
The century-long partnership between the Matthewses and the Belks led B. Frank Matthews II, Gene and Katherine Matthews, and their son Ben F. Matthews III ’06 to establish the Matthews–Belk Family Scholarship Fund to honor the relationship between the two families. In particular, the fund honors Belk family members who attended Woodberry Forest, including J. Kirk Glenn ’61, C. Walker Morris ’70, J. Belk Daughtridge ’71, Thomas M. Belk, Jr. ’73, H. W. McKay Belk ’75, John R. Belk ’77, Charles W. Morris, Jr. ’02, and J. Robert Belk, Jr. ’08.
The scholarship fund supports Woodberry’s need-based tuition assistance program, providing grants that allow several boys to attend Woodberry each year. “If William Henry Belk hadn’t put my grandfather into business, establishing this fund would never have been possible,” Gene Matthews says. “We want to acknowledge our gratitude and honor the Belk family’s service to Woodberry.”