Winthrop Receives $1 Million Gift in Honor of Alumna and Retired Estée Lauder Executive Ida Crawford Stewart
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Winthrop Receives $1 Million Gift in Honor of Alumna and Retired Estée Lauder Executive Ida Crawford Stewart

January 26, 2021

HIGHLIGHTS

  • This generous gift will establish the Ida Crawford Stewart Endowment for the Arts, which will provide scholarships, faculty enrichment, program development, and discretionary funds related to the mission of Winthrop’s College of Visual and Performing Arts.
  • This is one of the two largest gifts CVPA has received in the last decade and reflects Stewart’s belief that people should maximize their individual potential throughout life’s journey.

ROCK HILL, SOUTH CAROLINA – Leonard A. Lauder, chairman emeritus of The Estée Lauder Companies, recently made a personal donation of $1 million to Winthrop University to honor retired Estée Lauder executive and Winthrop alumna Ida Crawford Stewart ’43.

This generous gift will establish the Ida Crawford Stewart Endowment for the Arts, which will provide scholarships, faculty enrichment, program development, and discretionary funds related to the mission of Winthrop’s College of Visual and Performing Arts (CVPA). This is one of the two largest gifts CVPA has received in the last decade and reflects Stewart’s belief that people should maximize their individual potential throughout life’s journey.

Stewart was vice president of merchandising for the international cosmetics company for many years. She served as special assistant and personal representative of the company’s late founder, Estée Lauder, who was Lauder’s mother.

Having recently relocated from New York City to her home state of South Carolina, Stewart was first surprised, and then delighted, to hear about Lauder’s generosity to her beloved alma mater.

“It took several seconds for it to sink in, so I guess you could say my first reaction was silence. But as soon as I processed it, I was overwhelmed and deeply grateful. I always believed my success in life — and my wonderful career with Estée Lauder — had much to do with my time at Winthrop,” Stewart said. “To have an endowment in my honor from Leonard Lauder to the college I love is more than I ever imagined.”

Winthrop officials said the gift will create several learning opportunities for students.

“This gift is a game changer for the College of Visual and Performing Arts,” said Winthrop Interim President George Hynd. “Students look to Ida Crawford Stewart as a wonderful role model who was ahead of her time, serving as a trend setter and teacher in the cosmetics industry. Her work serves as a creative inspiration to all of us here at Winthrop. This gift will enable the college to reach new heights by expanding its offerings and scholarships for the next generation of Winthrop students.”

CVPA Dean Jeff Bellantoni echoed Hynd’s appreciation: “I am enormously grateful for the generosity of Leonard Lauder's extraordinary gift, which comes at a time when support for the arts is as critical as ever,” he said. “This endowment will benefit students and faculty in the arts through scholarships and faculty enrichment and will allow us to fund creative initiatives on campus and in the broader community.”

Joining the makeup company in 1961, Stewart assisted with product development, beauty staff training, media interviews, and coordination of products with store fashion directors.

Stated Lauder, “My mother loved Ida, and I love Ida, and this endowment is a tribute to her and to her love of the arts, something we share. She truly reflects the ideals of lifelong learning in her deep commitment to the success of Winthrop and future generations of students.”

Born and raised in Clinton, South Carolina, Stewart graduated from then Winthrop College with a B.A. in art. She taught art to sixth graders before returning to Winthrop as art supervisor and later as alumni director. She earned a master’s degree in health education from the University of Maryland and worked there as an assistant professor of health education. She was employed at Bristol-Myers Company as an educational director and at Coty as a merchandising coordinator before joining Estée Lauder.

Stewart’s achievements landed her in the Who’s Who in Worldwide Business and Industry, Who’s Who in Education, and Who’s Who in the East. She was a member of Fashion Group, Advertising Women of New York, and the American Association of University Women. She has been given keys to several U.S. cities — Raleigh, Peoria, Mobile, Florence, Charlotte and Vidalia — and to Birmingham, England.

For more information, contact Judy Longshaw, news and media services manager, at longshawj@winthrop.edu or at 803-984-0586.

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Last Updated: 1/26/21