When Doug Sisk ’74 was interviewing at Woodberry as an eighth grader, it washis younger brother, Geoff ’77, who had the mostmemorable visit.
“While Doug was interviewing, I was sitting
in the Walker Building while the director of
admission talked to my parents. I was in fifth
grade,” Geoff remembers. Baker Duncan came out
of his office, introduced himself to my parents and
me, and then asked, ‘Do you like to fish?’ I said yes,
and so Baker got some fishing rods and took me
fishing at the Rapidan River while my parents and
Doug finished their admission interviews!”
It’s that sort of personal connection and attention
that has kept the Sisk family linked to Woodberry
for fifty years. Peter Sisk, the son of Geoff and his
wife, Jennifer, is a member of the class of 2009.
Doug and Geoff came to Woodberry from Easton,on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. After Woodberry,Doug went to Syracuse University, earning abachelor’s degree in design and technical theaterand a master’s degree in communications. Heworked as an operations manager on large events,including the opening and closing ceremonies ofthe Atlanta Olympics, before launching his ownproduction services company. He’s also a talentedphotographer and works on assignments aroundCalifornia, where he lives north of San Francisco.
After Woodberry, Geoff attended Washingtonand Lee University and has spent much of his careeras a financial advisor in Richmond, where for manyyears he served as the president of Woodberry’sRichmond Regional Association. Peter, a graduateof the University of South Carolina, also works as afinancial advisor, but in Denver.
Geoff said the entire family was interested inmaking a substantial gift to Woodberry, and he saidhis experience on the Woodberry board of trustees,as well as seeing the impact of a major scholarshipgift at W&L, led him to pitch Doug and Peter on theidea of establishing a tuition assistance fund in theWoodberry endowment.
Doug said he considered making a gift tosupport the Walker Building project and is gladit has received a much-needed revitalization. Butnow that the building is fully reopened, he hopesalumni will consider a gift to tuition assistance. Hesaid he sees tuition assistance as a way to preserveand enhance the school’s sense of place and senseof community, something that he observed in 2019when reconnecting with classmates at his forty-fifth reunion.
“Tuition assistance money is sort of invisible,
except to the people who give it and those who
receive it,” he said. “These gifts, just as much as
gifts to restore buildings, help keep Woodberry’s
sense of place very well established.”
Geoff said he saw W&L’s student body, and the
entire university, become stronger after a $100
million gift in 2007 that established the university’s
“As a W&L grad, I saw a total change in the
school because it had the resources suddenly to
offer scholarships to anybody with need,” he said.
“That major gift at W&L was a merit scholarship,
whereas Woodberry’s aid is need-based, but still,
when you get more scholarship money, it allows
kids of all types the opportunity to come to your
school. And these scholarships can level the
playing field and cost between Woodberry and
day schools. I think we missed out on some kids
over the years at Woodberry because they couldn’t
afford us or felt they should stick around their day
school because of the cost difference.”
Peter said that as he went through college and
settled into professional life, he realized the critical
importance of his Woodberry education.
“I think folks my age are now able to look back atsome early life decisions and realize how importantsome of those were. For me a huge part of this giftis that attending Woodberry is the most importantdecision I made in my education,” he said. “Aswe’ve been spending time together as a class overZoom the last few months, a lot of us have beentalking about how important Woodberry is to usand where we are in our careers because of theeducation and work ethic and relationship buildingwe got here.”
When you get
money, it allows
kids of all types the
opportunity to come
to your school. And
can level the playing
Woodberry and day
Geoff Sisk ’77
Sisks Make Scholarship Gift a Family Commitment
Fletcher, Geoff ’77, Peter ’09, and Doug Sisk ’74