Two decades of dedication to the Center for Homeland Defense and Security culminated in one last day at the educational institution for retiring Director Glen Woodbury.
Woodbury’s final day as director was marked by a farewell ceremony attended by dozens of well-wishers including several longtime CHDS colleagues held at the Naval Postgraduate School’s ME Auditorium on Thursday, Aug. 31.
A member of the original CHDS Master’s Program cohort starting in 2003, Woodbury would end up transitioning to faculty member working with the fledgling Mobile Education Team shortly after earning his Master’s degree, and then was appointed CHDS Director in 2007.
Among those attending were longtime fellow CHDS administrators, faculty and staff including NPS/CHDS Professors Rodrigo Nieto Gomez and Erik Dahl, newly appointed interim CHDS Director and Chief Information Officer Jodi Stiles, Strategic Communications Director Heather Hollingsworth Issvoran, CHDS Operations Manager Mark Fish, CHDS Faculty Carolyn Halladay and Shannon Brown, and CHDS Executive Leaders Program Director Sara Kay, and Assistant Associate Director of Educational Programs Sarah Bentley, who was also leaving CHDS after nearly 20 years at the end of the week.
The ceremony featured a video of recorded tributes to Woodbury and his lengthy tenure at CHDS, as well as a few brief remarks from some in attendance.
Introduced by Stiles, the video produced by the CHDS media team led by James Marsh and Molly Nance began with an image of a Viking ship burning in a funeral ritual that Woodbury would later note “is in my will.”
After a short introductory segment by Hollingsworth Issvoran, who noted Woodbury’s acumen in navigating CHDS through a “series of near misses and found a way for CHDS to survive and thrive,” the video included a number of paeans in Woodbury’s honor including Nieto Gomez who said he found 14,000 emails from his longtime colleague in his email without a single “mean” one, and others that noted his demeanor as a “humble servant” who set a “standard of excellence.”
Hollingsworth Issvoran capped off the testimonials by telling Woodbury how much CHDS would miss “your dog Charlie, most of all.”
Stiles noted that she and Woodbury had worked together for 18 years and thanked him for teaching her to “look at both sides” of any issue. “Thanks for the mentorship,” she said.
Dahl noted how Woodbury had led the way in making CHDS an “important part” of the NPS campus, demonstrating leadership beyond the educational institution he guided for so many years.
In his remarks, Woodbury told the assemblage, “I think you know how special this place is,” especially in government, noting the “smiles in the hallways” and the way “everyone comes together and supports each other is incredible.”
He pointed out that the CHDS “attrition rate is probably the lowest” because “no one ever wants to leave.”
“Keep taking care of each other,” Woodbury said. “Don’t let the sparks go out. The energy is just fun. Do fight—about what’s better. Go to graduation, it warms your heart. Everyone is so happy. Everything moves the ball forward.
“The point is we change people’s lives in so many ways. It’s changed my life. And it’s also okay to leave and try something else.”
The ceremony was capped off with the presentation of a framed photo of NPS’ Herrmann Hall surrounded by the signatures of well-wishers, followed by a group photo and cake in the lobby.
Woodbury’s final day at CHDS capped off a week in which he also made his final presentation as Director on Tuesday, Aug. 29, in a session entitled “Thinking in the Homeland Security Enterprise” with Kay for ELP cohort 2301.
Earlier, Woodbury was awarded the NPS Distinguished Alumni Award.