William H. “Bill” Woodruff, longtime department head of the Biotechnology program at Alamance Community College until his retirement a year ago, is receiving the distinction of Professor Emeritus during the College’s 2017 commencement exercise on May 19. The honor was approved by the board of trustees. Three faculty members have received this honor in the past.
Woodruff began his tenure with the Biotechnology program two years after its inception: initially as an instructor starting in 1987 and then as department head from 1996 until 2016.
Beginning in 1998, he served as the Southeastern Regional Director for Bio-Link, whose mission is to improve and support two-year biotechnology education. In 2008, he was appointed the Southern Hub Director of the Northeast Biomanufacturing Center and Collaborative, both funded by the National Science Foundation.
Woodruff was honored in March 2012 by the Piedmont Triad Office of the NC Biotechnology Center with the Academic Development Excellence Award for his 25 years of career achievement in the industry.
Woodruff was a key consultant when other community colleges, such as Forsyth Technical Community College, initiated their own biotechnology programs. He is known in the North Carolina biotechnology community as the “Father of Community College Biotech,” as a result of his innovative thinking that led to the development of the statewide diploma program focusing on Biomanufacturing.
Under Bill Woodruff, ACC’s Biotechnology program has graduated more than 300 students, nearly all of whom have found careers with such employers as LabCorp, Carolina Biological Supply and several companies located in Research Triangle Park (RTP). Furthermore, he coordinated several biotech workshops for high school and community college teachers from across the nation who spent a week on the ACC campus learning how to teach basics of biotechnology in their own classrooms.
As a result of Woodruff’s brilliant work overseeing ACC’s Biotechnology department, the College designated this program as its first Center of Excellence last year.