Beyond Woodberry: Jack Pidgeon ’11

Jack Pidgeon ’11


Jack Pidgeon ’11 in one of the many locations he has found himself worldwide, the Panama Canal, working with a program called Engineers without Borders, helping local native communities

My life changes so fast. These days I switch time zones on my watch almost three times a week. Within the last year, I graduated college, married, moved across the country, visited five nations and worked in ten cities. I identify myself as a Christian, husband, engineer, consultant, athlete, explorer, writer, academic, and so much more; I change as I adapt to my environment. But I remember my time at Woodberry to be a time of feeling little change. The day to day passed in stagnation as I’d sit in my dorm room on cold, sophomoric, February nights wondering if the air would ever change to Spring. Wondering what it was like to be a Junior and go to formal or to be a Senior soon knowing which college full of girls I’d be attending the following year. But the unchanging daily life of Woodberry is exactly what catalyzed my chronically-changing life today.

When I arrived as a Freshman in the Fall of 2007, I identified myself in two ways: as being a swimmer and as having math as my best subject. I found fulfillment only in success in those two things, and if I fell short from my expectations, I’d deflate trying in any other opportunities. As I aged through the unchanging environment, I was given chances to make mistakes, welcome mentorship, and explore interests from a level of comfort. These really came to fruition my Junior year, when Mr. Huber invested into my study habits, helping me realize my potential as a student. Suddenly I found a system working for me, and I enjoyed learning, developing an insatiable lust to understand ideas as wholly as I could. Mr. Reimers did the same with my writing as he forced me to search for more depth, which eventually led me to write for the Talon, and for pleasure today. I could continue endlessly of Woodberry faculty investing in parts of me I never had the slightest inclination to pursue, but what sets them apart from faculty at other schools is the integration of their lives into the community. Since faculty’s lives are parallel to life at Woodberry, I could ask questions anytime, continually pouring knowledge, interests, and ideas into my head. The most critical decisions I unknowingly made as investments for my life today were in conversations outside the academic day, either in seated meal, practice, WCF, or after study hall.


Jack Pidgeon and his wife, Hillary

My classmates shaped my life just as much. Continuous membership to a team, whether that be swimming, dorm life, or class, crafted my sense of humility and appreciation for differences of others in my career, my college team, and even my marriage. My unconscious approach to challenges through teamwork and servant-leadership came from Woodberry. Not only was living with another person hard, but finding out I couldn’t achieve my swimming goals without teamwork was a trying lesson for me; just ask Coach Guldin.

I wear a myriad of hats today because of the 1,200 acres, dedicated faculty, and tightly knit community that never seems to change. A shiny new building or internet for freshman dorms doesn’t affect the ability of Woodberry boys to learn the reaches of their potential in so many aspects of their lives, or have interests in things they never would consider.


Jack sits with one of his students on a service trip

Categories: Today