Distinguished Alumni 2000
Mary "Polly" Wylie Ford
Mary “Polly” Wylie Ford graduated from Winthrop College in 1948 with a bachelor of science degree in physical education. She received her master’s degree in Education from the University of Virginia in 1952 and then went on to receiver her PhD from the University of Iowa in 1957.
During her student years at Winthrop she served as President of Westminster Fellowship, was listed in the Who’s Who Among College Students, received the WAA Best All Around award, and graduated with Cum Laude honors.
Polly returned to her alma mater in 1961 as a faculty member and became department chair in 1962. During her 30 years in that role she provided leadership that kept the department on the cutting edge in physical education. Winthrop’s entry into competitive athletics in the 1960’s was made possible through her support as programs were housed in the Department of Physical Education until the Athletic Department was created in 1975.
Polly has been recognized throughout her career for her leadership in professional organizations as well as at Winthrop. She served as president of the Southern District Association of the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance and was Southern District Representative to AAHPERD. She received an Honor Award from South Carolina and Southern District AAHPERD organizations, and a Citation for Outstanding Contributions from the Southern Association for Physical Education of College Women. Upon her retirement, the Mary Wylie Ford Award for professional involvement was created by colleagues and former students.