Pitzer College Professor Michael Woodcock Dies

Michael Woodcock self-portrait
Michael Woodcock self-portrait

Claremont, Calif. (April 9, 2013)—Pitzer College Professor Emeritus of Creative Studies Michael Woodcock, an artist and teacher, passed away on March 31, 2013 after a long illness.

Woodcock joined the Pitzer faculty in 1989 and was known as a unique artist with a great passion for teaching the creative process. Woodcock’s course, “The Mother Road,” about historic Route 66 culminated in a 2,278-mile road trip, with Woodcock and a dozen students driving in vintage cars from Santa Monica to Chicago. Along the way, they studied history, culture, art and the meaning of the road. After his retirement in 2005, Woodcock maintained close relationships with faculty, staff and former students. 

“Michael was a beloved member of the Pitzer community, known for his many gifts of kindness, wit and creativity,” said Pitzer President Laura Skandera Trombley. “His influence at the College touched us all and he will be greatly missed.”

Colleagues describe Woodcock not only as an inventive, interdisciplinary professor, but as a storyteller with a wicked sense of humor and deeply generous nature.

“If I had to choose one word to characterize Michael Woodcock, it would be devoted,” said Professor of English and Creative Studies Albert Wachtel. “He was devoted to his splendid wife. He was devoted to his wonderful children. He was devoted to his students and his art. And he was devoted to Pitzer College. Our world has lost a very special colleague.”

Woodcock’s paintings and lithographs often featured dramatic compositions with thought-provoking and frequently humorous titles.  His work has been collected by a number of national and international institutions, including the Getty Museum, the Los Angeles County Public Library, Yale University and the TOSCHI Art Institute in Parma, Italy.

Woodcock earned his MFA from the Claremont Graduate University. He received two California Arts Council grants and a Carl Hertzog Award for Excellence in Book Design.

His family will identify a fund for artists without health insurance for anyone who wishes to make donations in Woodcock's memory. Details will be forthcoming.

Woodcock is survived by his wife, Julie; his two daughters, Margaret and Carolina; his sister Cherie; his brother Scott and his extended family.

About Pitzer College

Pitzer College is a nationally top-ranked undergraduate liberal arts and sciences institution. A member of The Claremont Colleges, Pitzer offers a distinctive approach to a liberal arts education by linking intellectual inquiry with interdisciplinary studies, cultural immersion, social responsibility and community involvement. For more information, please visit www.pitzer.edu.

Press Releases, 2013–14 Academic Year