When Richard Ward first stepped on the UMass Dartmouth (then SMU) campus back in 1975, he knew there would be challenges. Like most professors, Dr. Ward had a strong desire to provide students with the best education possible and viewed accreditation of the Charlton College of Business as a critical component to success. He also recognized the need to reach out into community and involve business leaders in the university. Today, the Charlton College of Business is accredited by AACSB and heavily involved in the southcoast business community.
Similar to Dr. Ward, many students face challenges when they first arrive at UMass Dartmouth. For some, adjusting to college life is an obstacle but for most, the cost of a college education is the primary hindrance. Recognizing the need to help students with the financial barriers of attending UMass Dartmouth, Dr. Ward endowed the Cecilia B. Ward Scholarship Fund in memory of his wife who supported him throughout his time at UMass Dartmouth, the last 15 as the Dean of the Charlton College of Business.
"Cecilia had been heavily involved in the university as President of the Library Associates and through many other programs. She was gracious when we entertained faculty at our houses and really provided me with an incredible support system," says Dr. ward. "She loved poetry and altogether she had her own career, I couldn't think of a better way to memorialize her work and commitment to the University then to endow a scholarship."
Although the act of establishing a scholarship in memory of his wife was bittersweet for Dr. Ward he has come to appreciate the impact that it has had on students.
"I attended the Scholarship Donor Luncheon last April and it was really amazing to meet the student recipient. I certainly thought I'd be more interested in meeting the student than the opposite, but I was amazed by the sincerity of my student recipient, and that of others, in meeting donors. There was a real comfort level and a genuine interest in donors. It was a tremendous experience and I look forward to meeting more students at next year's luncheon," says Dr. Ward.
Dr. Ward is one of many former retired faculty members who have endowed scholarships at UMass Dartmouth. For most, the willingness to continue investing in students is an extension of their educational careers and a commitment that reaches far beyond the classroom.