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Shadrach Woods Diversity Fund

Donations to the Shadrach Woods Diversity Fund support our ability to attract students from a wide range of racial, ethnic, and socio-economic backgrounds. Read our Diversity Statement or donate now.

On January 11, 1992, on Mt. Snow in Vermont, Shadrach Woods (GMWS Class of 1988), son of architect Valtraude and the late Shadrach Woods IV, died suddenly in a skiing accident. From Kindergarten in 1973 until his graduation in 1988, Shadrach grew all the way through Green Meadow Waldorf School. During eight years with Sheila Nielsen as his teacher, Shadrach grew from a somewhat pale follower, to a rascal who could play king, to an increasingly fire-cheeked, increasingly followed leader.

A fine artist and a good trumpet player, Shadrach led, especially by example, in athletics: playing soccer, basketball, and lacrosse all four years of high school. A talented athlete, Shadrach distinguished himself especially through his intelligent understanding of what the game required of the team as a whole. Little surprise that Shadrach went on, after graduation from Green Meadow, both to coach the GMWS Lacrosse Team as a 19-year-old, and then to be a Captain of the Bowdoin College Lacrosse Team, a team of national stature.

In high school as well as college, Shadrach was friend, brother, and father to many. Shadrach was emulated by many, both peers and younger people. He became an increasingly keen student, always planning, like his sister, Aicha, to be an architect, like their parents. In college, Shadrach also became quite active politically, often a major catalyst helping groups he felt needed help. While Shadrach Woods died before he was able to build actual low-income housing as he wished, he nevertheless helped many people of all ages, in little and in large ways, in daily and in longer-term ways, feel more at home in themselves. With sorrow for Shadrach Woods' unexpected passing, we are immeasurably grateful for his passing through our lives.

--From an obituary by John Wulsin in the Green Meadow Alumni Bulletin

Shadrach's sister Aicha shared the following with us:

At Bowdoin, Shad studied Art History, with a minor in economics. At the time he died, Shad was very active in the Student Coalition for Diversity as well as the Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian Alliance for Diversity. He was a leader in these organizations and organized various memorable civil actions and protests at Bowdoin. At the same time, he always saw the nuances in a situation and was able to negotiate and discuss issues in a frank and down-to-earth way with the administrators at the college.

Our family designated his memorial fund for diversity because Shadrach had a powerful and unwavering sense of social justice and fairness. He applied this sense to interpersonal issues, as a competitive athlete, as well as through his broader political and philosophical discourse.


by Sheila Nielsen's Sixth Grade (of which Shadrach was a member)

We saw the mountain that was so grand;
We saw it there, rising out of the wide low land.
We saw the craggy pinnacle so dark against the sky:
We saw the summit that was so high.
We climbed the mountain right into a cloud,
And heard the wind that was so loud.
Then suddenly the air was free and clear,
And we could see both far and near.


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