A life and legacy remembered

Former Board of Trustee member and generous supporter of the college Ed Hood passed away on Sunday, Feb. 3.

Beginning in 1995, Hood served multiple terms on the Board of Trustees. During his time as a trustee, he and his wife Kay Hood established the Ed & Kay Hood Honors Scholarship that has been awarded to 98 students over the past 15 years with a total of $392,915 in scholarship assistance.

Hood helped fund several projects across campus including construction of the May School of Nursing and Health Sciences and the Lauritsen Technical Theatre and Design Studio, and renovations to Hayes Auditorium and Broyhill Theatre. He also supported distinct offerings such as the New Opportunity School for Women and general operations through the Fund for Lees-McRae.

In 2011, the college awarded Hood with an Honorary Doctorate of Humanities during Commencement. Hood also co-chaired the search committee that brought President Lee King to Lees-McRae.

“Ed’s impact on Lees-McRae was indelible,” Dr. King said. “His financial wisdom and keen insights were key to turning the college toward a positive trajectory, and the financial commitments that he and Kay made to support honors students leave a lasting legacy. He was an impressive man with a deep intellect and a deep love for the community here at the college and in Banner Elk—we will sincerely miss him.”

Wildlife Biology major Patricia Mezza (’19) said the Hood Scholarship has provided her opportunities that she might have otherwise been unable to pursue had it not been for the Hood family.

“Having this scholarship, and not having to constantly focus on the financial aspects of things, has allowed me to take on extra opportunities such as being a teacher assistant, volunteering at Grandfather Mountain for my senior research project, to being a resident director here on campus,” Mezza said. “It’s been a pleasure over the past four years at various college functions to interact with Ed and Kay Hood and thank them in person for the opportunities they have allowed me to have here.”

Chair of the Board W. McNair Tornow also shared his gratitude and condolences to the Hood family.

“Lees-McRae has lost a wonderful friend and supporter,” Tornow said. “Through our time [together] both on the board and other committees, he became a personal friend and mentor to me in my chairmanship role—I turned to him often.”

Hood received both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nuclear engineering from North Carolina State University in 1953. Following college, Hood went on to serve in the military as a United States Air Force officer from 1952 to 1956. Hood began a long professional career at the General Electric Company in 1957. Starting as a Design Engineer, he rose through the ranks before retiring in 1993 as Vice Chairman of the Board and Executive Officer.  

Hood served on multiple boards, including higher education, during his retirement. In addition to Lees-McRae, Hood was a trustee of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute from 1980 to 1995 and a trustee of North Carolina State University from 1995 to 2003.

Pictured above: Ed and Kay Hood have dinner with recipients of the Ed & Kay Hood Honors Scholarship during the 2018 Scholarship Dinner. In the 15 years since its creation, the Ed & Kay Hood Honors Scholarship has been awarded to 98 students with a total of $392,915 in assistance.

By Nina MastandreaFebruary 12, 2019
Campus LifeFamiliesAlumniCommunityAcademics