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Originally published Tuesday, September 4, 2012 at 7:15 PM

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David Woodall, who led Lake Washington college, dies at 67

David Woodall, 67, the president of Lake Washington Institute of Technology, died of an apparent heart attack Monday.

Seattle Times higher education reporter

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A physicist, engineer and administrator, David Woodall liked nothing better than to meet students for coffee and find out what was on their minds.

Dr. Woodall, president of the Lake Washington Institute of Technology, died Monday (Sept. 3) of an apparent heart attack. He was 67.

He was hired in January 2011 as an interim president of the public two-year college in Kirkland. He was given the job of transforming Lake Washington from a technical school that offered a limited number of courses to a polytechnic school that offered both a wider range of courses and some four-year baccalaureate degrees, said Bruce Reid, chair of the board of trustees.

Dr. Woodall "hit the ground running," and in November the board took "interim" off his title and named him the eighth president of the college, Reid said. Trustees recently extended his contract to 2015.

During his tenure, the school successfully petitioned the Legislature for a name change that reflected its more ambitious goals — from Lake Washington Technical College to the Lake Washington Institute of Technology, Reid said. It also began offering a four-year baccalaureate degree in technology and applied design, and it began developing several other baccalaureate-degree programs, he said.

Before coming to the college, Dr. Woodall held a number of positions with the Oregon Institute of Technology over a seven-year period — including provost, acting president and director of the school's Seattle branch.

Reid said Dr. Woodall had a doctorate from Cornell University and was trained in physics and engineering. "He seemed to know everything about everything," Reid said.

He also taught and held administrative positions at universities in New Mexico, Idaho, Alaska and New York, served as a visiting scientist for the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Space, and a visiting staff member at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Dr. Woodall enjoyed meeting students, and often let them know, via Facebook or Twitter, that he was available for impromptu chats in the school cafeteria, said Terry Byington, executive director for college advancement. Among staff members, he was known both for setting an ambitious agenda and for a dry, quirky sense of humor, Byington said.

She said Dr. Woodall met his wife, Carol, for lunch almost every day.

Katherine Long: 206-464-2219 or klong@seattletimes.com. On Twitter @katherinelong.

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