‘The Woods’ Gets a Facelift, Thanks to Generous Parent

“The Woods” is a popular nickname for William Woods University, and last year the university adopted ‘The Woods Way’ as its guidepost to improvements in everything from employee friendliness to campus beautification.


Situated on 180 acres in Fulton, Mo., the main campus is known for its attractive grounds featuring two lakes and hundreds of majestic trees. Now, thanks to a generous parent, the campus is becoming even worthier of its nickname through reforestation efforts.


Bill Spradley (left) and Mike RoodBill Spradley, owner of Trees, Forests, Landscapes Inc. in Kirkwood, Mo., has donated between 35 and 40 trees and other plants, as well as a crew of certified arborists to plant them. One of his suppliers, Mike Rood of Pea Ridge Forest in Hermann, Mo., also donated trees for the project and brought his crew to help with the planting.


The crews worked Tuesday through Friday (March 3-6). One focal point12th Street Campus Entrance of the project includes the 12th Street entrance to The Woods’ campus.


William Woods replaced approximately 50 trees that were damaged by ice storms in December 2007 and January 2008, but planned to do more as part of the university’s Woods Way beautification project.


“The need was great, and we’re always glad to help where there have been tree losses,” Spradley said. “We especially want to help where people will appreciate our efforts to improve the species and where there will be a conscious effort to care for the trees.”


In outlining his plans to help with campus beautification, Spradley said, “I noticed a lot of trees were planted after the ice damage losses, but also noticed many of them were maples and less of the long-living stately oaks, elms or blackgums you see on mature university campuses.     


“The lake areas also appear they could use some bald cypress or dawn redwoods to give a more natural look at their edges. We could also provide some magnolias and clump form flowering crabapples to add some beautification in a few areas in need.”


Grove of Pin OaksSpradley’s crew also did some work on a large grove of pin oaks that had excessive amounts of deadwood and broken branches still snagged in the canopy from past ice damage.


He said he offered his services because he had an “overstocked inventory and time available to prune since the economy has slowed the aggressive demand for our services.”


Spradley chose William Woods as the recipient of his generosity because of his satisfaction with the way his family was treated and because of his daughter’s successful transition into college life, especially through the university’s Freshman Advantage program.


His daughter, Kelcie, is a freshman at William Woods, and his donation Bill and Kelcie Spradleyis his way of thanking the admissions staff, particularly Diane Drilling and Kate Engemann, for their efforts.   


Scott Miniea, associate vice president for university advancement, said the gift “will help with the Woods Way beautification goal, and will help increase biodiversity and reforestation efforts at ‘The Woods.’”


He explained that plantings are designed to complement the existing trees and to provide color during different seasons.


Seedling“A majority of what is being planted is native to Missouri,” Miniea said, “which increases the chances of survival and makes maintaining the trees and plants less costly, and by planting diverse native species of varying ages, we improve the campus for the long-term.” 


He added, “The tree planting project will also allow students and faculty in the sciences to use the campus as a classroom, which helps address the Woods Way ‘enrich student experiences’ goal.”



  1. Bill Spradley (left) and Mike Rood

  2. The roundabout at the 12th Street campus entrance gets a facelift.

  3. Workers trim excessive deadwood and broken branches from a grove of pin oaks.

  4. Bill and Kelcie Spradley on the WWU campus

  5. A worker plants a seedling.