Pollyanna Bealmear Wood
Associate Dean Emerita Pollyanna Wood, known most of her career as Polly Bealmear, is a living and breathing A&S institution. To many, her name is still synonymous with student advocacy and with no-nonsense administration. Ms. Wood was not one to “play politics” with anyone—faculty member or administrator. Her main focus was always the student.
Ms. Wood was born in 1929 in Shepherdsville, Kentucky. She began her long tenure with UofL as a student. While still a student, she began working in the Dean’s Office for a mere 49 cents per hour. She graduated in 1950 with honors in English and was elected into UofL’s Woodcock Society and Phi Kappa Phi. After graduation, she spent a year as the Recorder in the Dean’s Office and then became the College’s only “educational advisor” to students just a year later. While serving as an educational advisor, she received her master’s degree in education. As the College continued to grow and additional advisors were hired, she became more involved in the Dean’s Office administration. In 1961, she became an Assistant to the Dean. In 1966, she was made an Assistant Dean. In 1970, Ms. Wood was named Associate Dean for Curriculum and Scheduling and became the first woman to hold an associate deanship in the College. She retired from UofL in 1987 after some 40 years of service to the College.
During an expansive period of growth for the University and the College, Ms. Wood was in the middle of it all. She served under Deans Oppenheimer, Stevenson, Barber, Baron, Crawford, Slavin, Bos, Cronholm, and Deck. Through all of it, Ms. Wood’s tireless commitment was a constant. She was an ex-officio member of many College committees and represented A&S on many university-wide committees. In those roles, she was instrumental in creating and building College and University policies and procedures during a profound period of growth. Through the terms of 9 deans and acting deans, she was an anchor for the College as well as one of its best sources for “institutional memory.”