Dr. Woodie Flowers

On behalf of the Championship Woodie Flowers Award winners, we are nominating Dr. Woodie Flowers for the WFA. We are aware that he won this award in 1996 when Dr. William Murphy Jr. created it in his honor. Even so, no one ever nominated Woodie for this award. We believe Woodie deserves, and would appreciate this nomination.

Woodie greatly impacted and inspired our team. Woodie is known as the father of robotics education and competition by developing the ME2.70 (now 2.007) course at MIT. Within this popular course, he developed an engineering competition and method of competing which is the groundwork for robotic competitions. Woodie challenged his students to compete like crazy, while helping each other. This ideaology led to the concept of Gracious Professionalism.

Woodie’s effective communication made him an international celebrity. During the early 80s, he hosted the TV show Scientific American Frontiers. Woodie told us a story about when he traveled to Japan for a STEM education conference. He was surprised to see himself on large posters in the airport and convention center, celebrating his arrival.

Woodie was instrumental to create FIRST. When Dean Kamen created FIRST, he incorporated Woodie’s engineering challenge and his method of competing as the foundation for FIRST. Woodie has always been the steadfast guide of the FIRST ethos. When he spoke, we listened. When he elegantly explained a difficult engineering concept, we would understand. When he spoke about controversial subjects, we would find clarity. Woodie’s character, charisma, wisdom and empathy are all qualities we adored about him, and use as guiding examples.

Woodie’s humility and character are examples we follow. At FIRST events, Woodie was surrounded by adoring fans. Handlers escorted him through crowds who wanted a picture or a handshake. Woodie always struggled with his celebrity, but understood how important it was to connect with the students. He asked students for their autographs directly on his shirt when they approached him for his.

Woodie served as a gentle leader to our team.  He would step aside and empower us to take on challenges, much like how a mother bird kicks her chicks from the nest.  When one of us struggled with an issue, Woodie gave the advice we needed, and sent us his famous White Light of support.

Woodie not only used his gift of communication by means of oration, but he was also a skilled photographer. He was gifted in capturing an artistic image, and optimized the optical technology to get the best out of his subject. He and his wife, Margaret, traveled the world to capture incredible pictures. He used these same skills to guide us. He captured our hearts and attention through his focus on an issue, and traveled to great lengths to inspire many. He combined his skills of technical knowledge and human empathy to capture our attention, admiration and devotion.

Please accept this nomination of Dr. Woodie Flowers.  He is, by far, the most deserving.

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