Peter Irving Wold, for whom the Wold Center is named, chaired Union’s physics department from 1919 to 1945. A former patent examiner in the field of radio telegraphy and telephony, Wold held an electrical engineering degree from the University of Oregon and a Ph.D. in physics from Cornell University. In 1919, Union’s President Charles A. Richmond recruited Peter Irving Wold to head Union’s physics department, which Wold directed for the next twenty-five years. Peter Irving Wold lived with his wife, Mary (Helff) Wold, and their three children in the faculty house in North College from 1926 until 1944, when they moved to McKean House. The Wolds had a daughter, Mary (Wold) Payson, and two sons, both of whom attended Union: Ivor Wold '34 and John Wold '38.
John S. Wold '38 and Jane Wold
John Wold is a geologist and entrepreneur in a wide range of energy and mineral development concerns. He is President of Wold Minerals Company and a former U.S. Congressman from Wyoming. John Wold has been an involved Trustee of the College since 1981 and a generous Union benefactor. Among their many contributions to the College, the Wolds made a transformational gift to the You are Union capital campaign, a portion of which was used to provide the lead funding for the Peter Irving Wold Center. Their gift also supported the Minerva House in North College (now called Wold House) where young John Wold once lived with his parents.