Long-time CVPA Colleague Alf Ward Passes Away

May 22, 2023


  • An internationally recognized designer, craftsman, fine artist and design educator, Ward joined the Winthrop community in 1989 as chair of the then-Department of Art and Design. 
  • Funeral and memorial arrangements are forthcoming.

ROCK HILL, SOUTH CAROLINA – Professor Emeritus Alfred D. Ward, long-time colleague and mentor in Winthrop University’s College of Visual and Performing Arts, passed away on May 20. 

An internationally recognized designer, craftsman, fine artist and design educator, Ward joined the Winthrop community in 1989 as chair of the then-Department of Art and Design. After the department was renamed to Fine Arts, Ward led the department until he returned to teaching full-time in 1996. Even after his appointment as professor emeritus in 2006, he continued to teach and mentor students. He most recently taught a jewelry metals class in Spring 2023.

“Alf was generous with his time and expertise, and he relished his work with students. His involvement in the university community and the community at large continued well after his official retirement,” CVPA Interim Dean Karen Oremus noted. “His contributions through teaching, financial support, and mentorship were significant.” 

“Alf’s artistic and administrative voice set a high bar for professionalism in the many disciplines of art and design at Winthrop University,” wrote former colleague and friend Tom Stanley. “His example changed the course of these Winthrop programs that continue to honor his vision. For many students, faculty and the larger community, Alf was a good friend, a writer, a silversmith, a musician, someone to count on.” 

Ward grew up outside of London during World War II. That childhood combined with his keen observation of craftsmanship contributed to his caring deeply about the quality of design. He served as professor of design technology at the University of London, and then as head of the Department of Silversmithing, Jewelry, and Allied Crafts at the Sir John Cass College of Art within City of London Polytechnic. The design curriculum he helped develop at the University of London became a mandatory element of all design education in British high schools. 

After moving to the United States, Ward taught design studies at the University of Michigan and the Center for Creative Studies in Detroit. In 1985, he was appointed director of the Appalachian Center for Crafts in Tennessee before coming to Winthrop. He received Winthrop’s Distinguished Professor of the Year Award in 1998 and the Medal of Honor in the Arts in 2011. Ward designed the Medal of Honor as well as, significantly, the Winthrop mace that is displayed at each Commencement ceremony. 

His work is represented in many permanent collections including the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. He also served as consultant designer for Spink & Sons in London by appointment of Queen Elizabeth II. He had numerous silversmithing commissions around the world, primarily for ecclesiastical and ceremonial purposes. 

He is survived by his wife of 23 years, Caroline Rust Ward ’97, executive assistant to the CVPA dean and administrative coordinator; of Rock Hill; his daughter Kerri Taylor and husband Simon; his daughter Sarah Farrell and grandchildren Sebastian, Benjamin, and Harriet Farrell; and niece Sharon Fillary.

A memorial celebrating and honoring Ward is scheduled for Sunday, June 11, from 2:30-5:30 p.m. in the Rutledge Gallery, with the formal order of service taking place from 3:15-4 p.m. 

Donations in Ward's memory can be made to the College of Visual and Performing Arts (e-mail Development Officer Debbie Garrick at garrickd@winthrop.edu) or the Staines Salvation Army Church in England (e-mail staines@salvationarmy.org.uk).

Button ArrowALL NEWS