Carl Woodward began his career as a teacher in a one-room rural New Jersey school and retired nearly 50 years later as the president of the University of Rhode Island. He was born July 20, 1890, in Tennent, New Jersey, where he grew up on his father's farm.
Following his graduation from high school, he taught in a one-room rural school in Monmouth County, New Jersey, for two years. In 1910, he entered Rutgers University and received a bachelor's degree in science and education in 1914.He then taught physics, chemistry, biology and mathematics at Madison High School for one year before becoming editor and librarian for the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station and the College of Agriculture. In 1919, he received a master's degree from Rutgers. For the next seven years, he taught English at the university. In 1926, he received a doctorate from Cornell University in agricultural economics, rural education and rural sociology.
In 1928, he was named assistant to the president at Rutgers; he was promoted to secretary in 1936. While at Rutgers, he edited reports, scientific bulletins, circulars and news releases for the agricultural experiment station.
In 1941, he went to the University of Rhode Island to become its fifth president, serving until his retirement in 1958.
He belonged to 23 professional associations and other organizations and was a member of 17 honorary and fraternal societies and clubs, including Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Kappa Phi, Alpha Zeta, the Masons and the University Clubs of Providence and Boston. During his career, he received 10 honorary degrees.
He was also active in church and community affairs. After retiring, he continued as an academic consultant for several years.
During his term as Rhode Island's president, the school was granted university status, and 14 buildings were built or contracted for, with one named for Dr. Woodward. He was 68 years old when he died on October 2, 1958.