A native of Arkansas, William “Randy” Woodson received a bachelor's degree in horticulture and chemistry (1979) from the University of Arkansas and a master's degree in horticulture (1981) and doctorate in horticulture/plant physiology (1983) from Cornell University.
Woodson was an assistant professor of horticulture at Louisiana State University (1983-85). In 1985, he went to Purdue University, where he was assistant professor of horticulture (1985-89), associate professor of horticulture (1989-93), and named professor of horticulture in 1993. In 1996-98, he was head of the Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture at Purdue; visiting professor, Ecole Nationale Superieure Agronomique d'Toulouse (1998); associate dean and director of Agricultural Research Programs, Purdue (1998-04); and dean of agriculture, Purdue (2004-08). In May 2008, Woodson became Purdue's executive vice president for academic affairs and provost. As the university's chief academic officer, his responsibilities include oversight for all academic programs on the West Lafayette campus and on the four Purdue-affiliated regional campuses.
Woodson has been an ASHS member since 1981. He has served ASHS in many capacities, including chair, Continuing Education Committee (2000-02); vice president, Research Division (1997-2000); Tex Frazier Lecture Program Committee (1997-2000); Graduate Educator Award Selection Committee (1991-94); associate editor, HortScience (1991-93); associate editor, Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science (1991-94); Distinguished Lecture Program Committee (1988-90); and Outstanding Publication Selection Committee (1987).
Woodson's honors and awards include elected chair, National Agricultural Biotechnology Council (2001); ASHS Vegetable Publication Award (2000); Alex Laurie Award for Outstanding Scientific Paper in Floricultural Science (2000); ASHS Fellow (1998); Outstanding Service Award, Indiana Raw Products Association (1997); Golden Apple Award for Service to the Indiana Tree Fruit Industry, Indiana Horticultural Society (1997); ASHS Career Researcher Award (1996); B.Y. Morrison Memorial Medal and Lecture, USDA-ARS and ASHS (1996); Gamma Sigma Delta Award of Merit for Research (1995); and Purdue University Agriculture Research Award (1994).