Richard J. Wood was Earlham’s president from 1985-96.
Completing undergraduate work at Duke, Wood earned a B.D. at Union Theological Seminary and received his Ph.D. from Yale. An expert in Japanese philosophical thought, ethics and aesthetics, Wood had been a member of Earlham’s philosophy faculty from 1966-80. In 1980 he left Earlham to become academic vice president at Whittier College where he became a Quaker.
During his tenure as president of Earlham, Wood became a recorded minister. Although there were a number of controversies during Wood’s tenure, Earlham received a great deal of positive national publicity. He was committed to preserving Earlham's Quaker identity and improving ties with Quaker constituencies. He helped lead the College’s first successful capital campaign, launched in 1987, raising more than $20 million.
After his resignation in 1996, Wood became the Dean of the Yale University Divinity School. Five years later he became president of the United Board for Christian Higher Education in Asia (2001-06). He was named, through presidential appointment, chair of the U.S.-Japan Friendship Commission of the United States (1994-2002) and also was chair of the U.S.-Japan Cultural and Educational Conference.