Remembering Paul Ward
photo by Gary Gladstone
Paul L. Ward, who served from 1960 to 1965 as Sarah Lawrence’s fifth president, died on November 13, 2005, in Gwynedd, Pa., just north of Philadelphia. He was 94. During his presidency, Ward oversaw a significant increase in the student body, broader, more internationalized academic offerings, and changes to the physical campus.
A history teacher by trade, Ward had a substantial international background. He was born in Turkey, which his family evacuated during World War I, and raised in Lebanon, where his father taught at the American University of Beirut. After serving with the Office of Strategic Studies and the State Department during and just after World War II, Ward taught Western history for three years in China during the final stages of the Communist revolution. In 1949 he was among the first group of foreigners allowed to leave the new People’s Republic of China.
Ward came to Sarah Lawrence from the Carnegie Institute of Technology, in Pittsburgh, where he taught and headed the history department. The Sarah Lawrence student body grew nearly 40 percent, to about 550, during his tenure, mostly in response to a pressing need for greater income. The “new dorms”—Rothschild, Garrison and Taylor, designed by Philip Johnson—were constructed to accommodate the influx, which included increased numbers of undergraduates from abroad. At the same time, new study opportunities became available for Sarah Lawrence students in England, France and Italy. The College established the Center for Continuing Education, a pioneer program for adults returning to school, in 1962.
Liberal education, Ward said, “underlies nearly all the specific advances of the Western world, in democracy and economic enterprise and science and the pursuit of arts. Liberal education is neither indoctrination nor simply pragmatic training: it is much more importantly the awakening of the mind and of the perceptions, the opening up of fields of esthetic and intellectual satisfaction, the launching of new self- disciplining and self-reviewing processes.”
After leaving Sarah Lawrence, Ward became executive secretary of the American Historical Association, in Washington, DC, a post he held until 1974. He later was active in the peace movement, in particular the Episcopal Peace Fellowship.
He is survived by his wife, Catharine, four children, five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
The Wrath of Katrina: Meredith King ’05 took this photograph of the street near her family’s home in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.
For more on this story, and the many responses of the Sarah Lawrence community to Hurricane Katrina, visit www.slc.edu/katrina
For eight days during winter break, a group of Sarah Lawrence undergraduates, faculty and alumnae/i worked in New Orleans, helping part of its devastated community rebuild. In partnership with ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now), the Sarah Lawrence group participated in the physical work of cleanup, and helped organize and inform residents so that their voices are heard in the new New Orleans to come.