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Positively Radiant

Charles Wood, M.D., Honors College Alumnus, joins Honors College Advisory Council
Positively Radiant

Dr. Charles Wood in his office, which proudly showcases his Tiger pride.

Dr. Charles Wood knows how to spread Tiger pride.

When the local radiation oncologist was doing his residency at the University of Pennsylvania, his devotion to LSU football led the other residents to become Tiger fans themselves.

“They didn’t really have a strong football presence up there,” he said. “So by the end of my time there, everyone was an LSU fan … they kind of adopted the Tigers as their college team.”

Recently, Wood, an Honors College alumnus, joined the Honors College Advisory Council, a group of distinguished community leaders who serve both as advisors to the Dean and as ambassadors for the College and the University.

“(It’s) nice to be back at LSU. It’s like coming full-circle,” he said. “You do so many things in college and then you come back home … this is the time when you can do things for the school that helped make you who you are.”

Born and raised in Baton Rouge, Charles Wood, M.D. has always felt a strong connection to the University.

“I went to the University Lab School (and) graduated from there in ’94 as salutatorian,” he said. “I had the opportunity to go to many colleges, but I always wanted to go to LSU… I didn’t apply anywhere else.”

Wood received undergraduate degrees in microbiology and psychology at the University before continuing on to medical school at the LSU School of Medicine in Shreveport, where he graduated as valedictorian.

“I’m extremely proud of LSU,” he said. “The thing that had a big impression on me was how much it had to offer. The Honors College is a great example … It has outstanding students and teachers and it really raised the bar for education.”

Wood said the small, interdisciplinary Honors College classes helped him succeed in medical school.

“The classes forced you to build a framework where you could integrate lots of ideas (and) make connections,” he said. “If you’re going to be successful, you have to be able to relate anatomy to physiology, and Honors classes taught me how to do that.”

But more than anything, Wood credits his success to his parents and the example they set for him.

“They never put a lot of pressure on me, but they were very instrumental in helping me understand that it’s not OK not to live up to your abilities (or) do your best,” he said.

Following in his father’s footsteps, he entered the medical profession, a career path he had always hoped to pursue

“I went into medicine probably because of my dad — he’s a pediatrician — and I never really thought I would do anything else,” said Wood. “It was much more difficult to decide which field to go into.”

It wasn’t until his final year of medical school in 2001 that Wood made up his mind to enter the field of radiation oncology. After finishing his residency in 2007, he returned to Baton Rouge and has been with Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center ever since.

Wood said the best part of his job is working with his patients.

“The patients are great,” he said. “Sometimes we do well and we can cure their cancers. When we can’t cure them, we can make them feel better, we can make their pain better. Many people assume that our days are filled with negative things, but at the end of the day it’s a very positive experience.”

Wood said his job at Mary Bird Perkins allows him to give back to the community in a meaningful way.

“You feel like a part of something bigger. They’re integrated in the community in lots of different efforts. It’s like coming in and standing on the shoulders of giants,” he said.


Story by Elizabeth Clausen, LSU Honors College

For more information, contact the Honors College at 225-578-8831