Calvin Wayne “Cal” Atwood, a beloved former director of MBA admissions at UNC Kenan-Flagler, died on May 15, 2018, at the age of 94.
Atwood served as director of MBA admissions from 1973 to 1980 and made a lasting impact by being engaged in students’ lives and invested in their success.
Debbie Ellis (MBA ’75) was one of those students. “Cal was a great listener. He was a thoughtful communicator. He was the true essence of a mentor for countless students, but first and foremost he considered himself a Marine. We knew we had an advocate and a friend who would be with us through thick and thin,” says Ellis. “He was also an accomplished poet with an incredible appreciation of the arts.”
Memories of Atwood inspired Ellis to establish the Calvin Atwood MBA Fellowship in his honor. “Cal was so instrumental in helping me sort through my talents and decide on a career path.” says Ellis.
No one helped Bill Starling (BSBA ’75) more in his personal and career life than Atwood.
“Cal absolutely changed my life, and I could have never repaid him for what he did for me back in 1976 – paving the way for me to get to L.A. for business school,” says Starling. “He was a compassionate human being who loved to help young folks find themselves and was my father figure when I worked for him as a work-study student in 1974 and 1975. Cal touched so many lives, and I am so fortunate to have had him in my life.”
Committed to his career in education, he taught and worked in school administration at Sidwell Friends in Washington, D.C., at Robert College in Istanbul, Turkey, at the Pembroke Hill School in Kansas City, Missouri and at Emory University in Atlanta.
Born in Bellows Falls, Vermont, in 1924, Atwood was raised in the heart of the Depression. At age 17 he enlisted in the Marines where he served as a parachutist-machine gunner in World War ll and was wounded in combat on Iwo Jima, where his company suffered 95 percent casualties. Returning from the war, he completed high school and earned degrees from Lawrence College and Columbia University, where he was a Baker Scholar.
To learn more about Atwood, read his full obituary.