Walter Woodward has always been a storyteller.
As a teenager, Woodward â€“ UConn associate professor of history and Connecticut State Historian â€“ told stories as a folk singer, believing he was hot on the trail of Bob Dylan. Dylanâ€™s turn to electric guitar at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival blew Woodwardâ€™s mind. Around the same time, Glen Campbellâ€™s â€œGentle on My Mindâ€� â€“ a folk song â€“ hit the country charts. This confluence of events set Woodward on a different path. He went to Nashville, where he wrote two hit country songs, â€œMarty Gray,â€� and â€œCouldâ€™a Been Me.â€�
Woodward wrote music for the â€œThe Care Bears Movieâ€� (1985) and eventually started his own successful advertising firm, garnering eight coveted Clio Awards for his ad spots.
His success in advertising, Woodward says, enabled him to follow a passion for history, earning his Ph.D. at UConn in 2001 and then becoming a professor at Dickinson College. Woodward was named Connecticutâ€™s fifth state historian in 2004, allowing him to tell stories about the state in new ways, from public events to daily â€œToday in Connecticut Historyâ€� posts and the podcast his office produces with Connecticut Explored magazine, Grating the Nutmeg.
Woodward sat down with Julie Bartucca of the UConn 360 podcast to discuss whatâ€™s made Connecticut the way it is, what he believes Connecticut residents should be called, and his own colorful history.
Listen to the podcast: