LAKE JACKSON, Texas — Many would say that there is a science to everything and that science is not for everyone. For 2012 graduate of Huston-Tillotson University, Christopher Woodard, science was everything to him.
A native of Angleton, Texas, Woodard declared a major in kinesiology, the scientific study of human or non-human body movement.
“I loved science,” Woodard declared. He found this love while in high school at Brazosport High School in Freeport, Texas. He was on the track team there and a member of the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers.
Actually, it was track that landed him as a student at Huston-Tillotson.
Woodard was in a track meet at Prairie View A&M University when a Huston-Tillotson track coach stopped him and asked about his college interest. His mom stood nearby, and all agreed to a campus visit that summer. When stepping onto Huston-Tillotson’s campus, Woodard captured the Austin skyline view (or it captured him) from behind the King-Seabrook Chapel. The small class sizes also intrigued him. Without a second thought, Woodard enrolled in Huston-Tillotson University that fall.
During his time as a very active student, including track team member, he again embraced his love for science. Despite not liking math, nothing could separate him and his love for physics and chemistry.
Nothing also could separate him from his love for Jesus.
“I was three and a half, four hours away from home, raised in the church. Since I was far away from home with little friends, I knew something was going to remind me where I was and keep me mentally where I needed to be, and Thursday’s Chapel was that reminder. No matter what, I could be surrounded by a group of believers that would remind me of home and who I was as a person.”
Later, on Thursdays, Woodard would help lead the Brothers of Fellowship, a men’s Bible Study held in the Beard-Burrowes dormitory.
“We would talk about the Bible, have open discussions, and help encourage and motivate each other and sometimes go up to the Chapel and have an all-praise session. Whatever we were struggling with the most, we would dive right in and lift each other up.”
Many students would lift up Woodard, as he was a student leader.
“I believe that they held me a lot to a higher standard than I held myself to because I was so active with religious life and so many organizations,” Woodard recalled. “I was trying to make a name for myself, so they ended up making me accountable for what I could possibly do when I didn’t see it in myself. I found that very encouraging. They would come up to me when they had personal issues or whatever.”
Woodard was Mister Huston-Tillotson (with an affiliated role in the Student Government Association), a student assistant in Religious Life with Rev. Donald E. Brewington, and a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. He even started a Gentlemen’s Club. He fondly recalls an event of the Club where the gentlemen pampered all ladies of Huston-Tillotson for Valentine’s Day.
“We gave them all a flower and had finger foods out in the Student Union, blocked it off for two hours. We invited all ladies on campus and gave them free massages while relaxing music played, including taking care of their hands and feet.”
Woodard said that the event was scheduled to end at 8:00, but the ladies kept coming. Their reaction?
“Could y’all do this more often? We really appreciated this. We need more guys like this.”
Woodard went on to say that all guys are not the same; “chivalry is not dead. We definitely hit the nail on the head with this one.”
Because of his heavy student activities’ roles, he had to soon withdraw from the track team.
Although successful, every day as a student was not easy for Woodard. He shared more about his challenging days and his faith and fellow believers that kept him intact.
“During my matriculation through HT, I faced a whole lot of struggles. But throughout all of my struggles, I had a few older brothers to me who pulled me to the side, who helped me stay positive, even in my darkest hours. If I needed anybody to talk to, they would be there. I even stay in touch now. They pick me up when I’m feeling my lowest. But God brought me through; he is able to pull me through whatever I’m going through.”
Today, Woodard doubles as a security guard for Lake Jackson, Texas location of BASF, the second largest producer and marketer of chemicals and related products in North America, and a fitness enthusiast (Instagram: @greekgodbodybuilding). Woodard would agree that he can now not only lift up someone spiritually but also physically. His journey continues.
Woodard took his fitness to another level in 2016. He seriously put his kinesiology expertise to work. He started competing in bodybuilding competitions such as the Alamo Showdown in San Antonio and Naturally Fit Federation in the Austin area. As Woodard jokingly puts it, “I had to keep my body in check.”
Woodard gives some credit to his kinesiology education at Huston-Tillotson and some to his life of athletics.
“I’ve been an athlete all my life. It’s hard for me to sit still. That’s why I’m always on the move.” That makes sense since he is educated in the field that studies body movement. A modest Woodard may not accept being called an expert in the field with such a commitment to staying active, but winning top awards such as first place in his first-ever bodybuilding show may say otherwise.
Woodard enjoys the bodybuilding to such an extent that he made it a platform to continue the journey started at Huston-Tillotson of lifting up others.
“Honestly, bodybuilding and powerlifting are all just a platform for me to show others, especially young black men, that you can do anything, no matter where you came from. I’m learning Spanish in this as well. I can use this platform to reach more people. I want to be able to touch the world.”
Well, Woodard is well on his way to touching the world as he builds his platform on a holistic journey that fully started at Huston-Tillotson University.