Hugh McCurdy Woodward served as the first President of Dixie College in St. George, Utah, beginning in 1914 and continuing through 1918. Emily Woodward, his wife, was hired as Domestic Science and Domestic Arts teacher at the St. George Stake Academy in 1911.
Hugh Woodward was born in December, 1881, in Huntington, Utah to Enoch J. Woodward and Ann L. Raymond Woodward. He attended Uintah Stake Academy in 1900-01, then Brigham Young Academy High School in 1902-03. He and his wife, the former Emily Timothy, married on October 18, 1905 in Salt Lake City, and became the parents of three children, one son and two daughters. Hugh Woodward attended the Beaver Branch of BYA in 1905-06, then Brigham Young Senior High School in Provo again in 1906-08, graduating with the BYH Class of 1908.
He received his Bachelors degree from BYU in 1911 and was promptly hired as the first principal of the St. George Stake Academy. In 1914, Hugh M. Woodward was named the first President of the Dixie Normal College, and because of this he became known as the "Father of Dixie College". During the leadership of President Woodward, the original Dixie College Administration Building and Gymnasium were constructed on Main Street in downtown St. George.
During the hot St. George summers, President Woodward had been working on his graduate studies, earning an M.A. from the University of Utah in 1918. In 1918, the Woodward family left St. George and went to the University of Utah. In 1920 he went to the University of California where he earned his Ph.D. degree. He worked for the Bureau of Public Health in Washington D.C. in 1920-21, then returned to Brigham Young University in various capacities, including Dean of Summer Session and Professor of Philosophy, until 1936. He spent four summers as a Professor of Education at the University of Washington.
In 1935, Hugh McCurdy Woodward was elected to the Utah State Senate, and soon was persuaded to become a Democratic candidate for Governor of Utah in 1936, although he did not win. Dr. Woodward became a Professor of Philosophy at the University of California, and taught there from 1937 to 1940. He died on August 11, 1940 in San Francisco, California.