April 30, 2012
Married Couple Endow Carolina Scholar Award: 'Give at a Younger Age'
How Charles and Anita Hood met at Carolina, launched successful careers in radiology and psychiatry, and raise two sons in proud Carolinian tradition is inspiring. So is their message about giving back to Carolina earlier in life to maximize a gift’s impact for students.
Charles and Anita, who graduated in ’83 with degrees in chemistry and biology, were both recipients of the prestigious Carolina Scholar scholarships. They attended the South Carolina Honors College and met by taking calculus and English classes together.
Following graduation they became engaged, enrolled in USC’s School of Medicine, and graduated in ’87. The day after receiving their doctor of medicine degrees, they married inside Rutledge Chapel—fondly referring to the wait “as probably the longest medical school engagement on record.” The ceremony was performed by one of their favorite undergraduate professors, Hal French
, from the Department of Religious Studies. He guided them through the process of writing their vows.
Charles has been a partner with Lexington Radiology Associates since 1991, while Anita worked as a psychiatrist for the School of Medicine and Veterans Affairs before taking time off to become an active school mom and volunteer. She edits the Irmo High School newsletter, The Jacket Journal
Best Way to Say What Scholarship Meant: Create a New Endowment
Their elder of two sons, Carolina sophomore Michael Hood
, is a second-generation Carolina Scholar recipient, the first one in program history. Michael received the Class of 1938 Carolina Scholar scholarship and is pursuing a Baccalaureus Artium et Scientiae degree from the Honors College. Highly individualized to suit his academic passions, Michael’s degree is an amalgam of biomedical engineering, psychology, and music.
After Michael’s achievement, the Hoods recently decided to create their own academic scholarship, called the Charles and Anita Hood Carolina Scholar Endowment. Charles was the youngest of six children, and his father passed away while he was a child. Being named a Carolina Scholar made his education—and the radiology career that followed—possible.
“When we decided to make the financial commitment to a new Carolina Scholar Award, one of our goals was to spur similar degrees of philanthropy in others of our age group,” Charles said. “To us it seemed that many people wait well into their senior years to give back to the University. We would like to see other relatively younger alumni think seriously about beginning the process of giving much earlier.”
Carolina Scholars: Prestige, Pride Go Hand in Hand
"When we decided to make the financial commitment to a new Carolina Scholar Award, one of our goals was to spur similar degrees of philanthropy in others of our age group." – Charles Hood, '83, '87
Established in 1969, the Carolina Scholar Program provides scholarships and programming for the state’s most academically promising students. Michael represents the academic promise of the Baccalaureus Artium et Scientiae. At Irmo High School, he was a National Merit Scholar, Palmetto Fellow, varsity tennis athlete, AP Scholar with distinction, and commencement speaker among many honors. He is also a highly talented pianist who won numerous state and regional awards.
“Michael has three albums on iTunes, and 50 original songs, which he started when he was 12,” Anita said proudly. Her younger son Ryan, another Irmo High standout, is a guitarist “who also has the gift of perfect pitch and uses it to score music.”
If fortunate enough, a family of Carolina Scholars completes a full educational circle: Michael has professor George Handy for chemistry, just as Charles did in ’82. “I worked on my senior thesis original research with Dr. Handy, extracting an alkaloid from a cactus,” Charles recalled.
The Hoods are part of South Carolina Honors College success that recently involved a new unveiling of nationwide Honors College rankings. USC was ranked No. 1 according to "A Review of Fifty Public University Honors Programs."
—Larry Di Giovanni, Development Communications