Died. Richard J. Wood, 78, divinity school dean, philosophy professor, and Japanese religion specialist, on August 1, 2015, in Avon, Indiana. Wood was dean emeritus and professor emeritus (adjunct) of philosophy at Yale Divinity School (YDS), New Haven, Connecticut. He was the Y.D.S. dean from 1996 to 2000. Wood’s experience with Japan is said to have helped the divinity school maintain its international vision.
Following his Yale tenure, Wood was president (2001–05) of the United Board for Christian Higher Education in Asia, New York and Hong Kong. During his years there, he oversaw the creation of the Hong Kong office and the eventual shift of most program staff from New York to Asia. Wood also helped inaugurate four core programs: the United Board Fellows Program, Asian University Leaders Program, Faculty Scholarship Program, and the Institute for Advanced Study in Asian Cultures and Theology.
After completing work with the United Board, Wood became president (2006–09) of the Japan Society, New York, where he is said to have strengthened and deepened understanding and friendship between the United States and Japan, steered the society’s centennial celebration, and created new programming opportunity globally.
In 2010, the government of Japan awarded Wood the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star, for his distinguished achievements. Bestowed in the name of the Emperor, the order is the Japanese equivalent of knighthood.
Before joining the YDS faculty, Wood was president of Earlham College, Richmond, Indiana.