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Winthrop Board Member Creates Development Fund for P.E. Faculty, Students

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 Winthrop Board of Trustees member has created a $25,000 endowed fund for faculty and student development.
 Ford is the former chair of the physical education department.

ROCK HILL, S.C. - Polly Ford, a Winthrop University Board of Trustee member and former chair of the physical education department, has established a $25,000 endowed fund for faculty and student development.

The gift, called the Jack B. and Polly Wylie Ford Endowed Physical Education Fund for Ford and her late husband, will promote collaborative research between faculty and students and assist with conference travel expenses.

Ford’s gift is part of a planned estate gift of more than $200,000 to the university. In appreciation of Ford’s generosity and long-time service to the university, Winthrop officials will name the second floor conference room in the new Lois Rhame West Health, Physical Education and Wellness Center for her. A dedication ceremony will be held once construction is completed in 2007.

At 137,000 square feet, the $24 million West Center replaces the Peabody Gymnasium where Ford spent her long career. Once finished, the West Center will house academic space for Winthrop’s health, physical education and sport management programs, as well as wellness facilities for the campus community.

"After all that Polly Ford and her husband, Jack Ford, have done for Winthrop, this gift in particular is truly symbolic of their dedication to creating a learning community. To support faculty and student collaborative research is to support the heart of the Winthrop experience," said Winthrop President Anthony DiGiorgio.

Ford spent much of her childhood on the Winthrop campus. She graduated from the Winthrop Training School after attending kindergarten through 12th grade. She graduated from Winthrop in 1948, then earned a master’s degree in education from the University of Virginia in 1953 and a Ph.D. from the University of Iowa in 1957.

Returning to Winthrop to teach in 1960, Ford became department chair two years later. During her tenure until her retirement in 1992, Winthrop’s Department of Physical Education successfully completed several rigorous accreditation processes and added a master’s degree program. The department also oversaw its students’ entrance and participation into competitive athletics in the 1960s until the Athletics Department was created in 1975.

Ford also has been recognized throughout her career for her leadership in professional organizations, as well as at Winthrop. She served on the Board of Trustees for the Alumni Association from 2002-06, with her final meeting to take place on June 9.

For more information, contact the Office of Development at 803/323-2150.

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