L.M. Wood: a kind, gentle woman

Those who gathered in the Sacred Space of the Numen Lumen Pavilion Tuesday afternoon remembered the late teacher and artist for her kindness, love for all living things and passion for teaching. 

L.M. Wood had a way with people. She had the ability to see the inner struggles of those she came in contact with and make them feel at ease. She cared for the environment and couldn’t wait for spring to come so she could work on her beloved garden. She loved all animals and always had room for one more cat in her house. She was a wonderful teacher, an artist in her own right who above all cared deeply for her students, family, friends and colleagues.

That’s how those who knew L.M. described her as they grappled with her sudden death during a moment of remembrance Tuesday afternoon. The long-time associate professor of art died in her sleep March 9, leaving behind wonderful memories of her time at Elon. “She shared so much of what she had with everyone,” said Gabie Smith, dean of Elon College, the College of Arts & Sciences, who joined the faculty at the same time as L.M. in 2000. “She was gentle but brave.”

In her teaching, L.M. believed students were central partners in learning. Her academic and creative focus was on blending digital technologies with traditional artistic processes, and she taught courses on digital art, static imaging, interactive art, photography, fibers and 3D modeling, visualization and printing. 

Many students and alumni who attended the remembrance event in the Sacred Space of the Numen Lumen Pavilion told stories of how her kindness touched them in countless ways, in and outside the classroom. That's not to say she was an easy professor, but rather an artist who was so passionate she wanted to make sure all her students succeeded at their craft. “She just found a way to connect with people,” her colleague Michael Sanford said. “She just loved making a difference and connecting with people.”

Her legacy goes beyond the countless students she taught and empowered at Elon. She and husband David Schaeffer established Eclectic Moose Studio in 1991 and the couple was active in the artist scene in nearby Saxapahaw, where she contributed to the Saxapahaw Museum. “Anyone she touched, she made a better artist, whether they wanted to be one or not,” said J.P. Lavoie, a multimedia developer who worked with L.M. on some of her classes. “I’m a better artist because of her.”

Those who knew L.M. may benefit from speaking with a staff member or counselor about this loss. Elon’s counseling staff and the chaplain’s staff are available as we begin the grieving process. Anyone who would like to talk about their feelings of loss or concern for others may contact Counseling Services at 336-278-7280 or the Truitt Center for Religious and Spiritual Life at 336-278-7729. Counselors are available after hours on call by contacting Campus Safety and Police at 336-278-5555. The Student Life administrator-on-call may also be reached at 336-278-5555 at any time.