ARCHIVED: $1 Million Gift Focuses on Faculty Support; Science Research also Funded

Olivia Churchill (Vicki) Ford and Silas Ford of Bronxville have donated $1 million to Sarah Lawrence College, primarily for faculty support through the endowment, but also to strengthen the College’s science program.

The College, which has one of the lowest student-to-faculty ratios in the country, and is unique for its inclusion of private tutorials in its seminar system, is especially focused on the role of faculty as central to its mission. Mrs. Ford is an alumna of the undergraduate College as well as the Art of Teaching graduate program. She is a member of the Board of Trustees.

“Sarah Lawrence College provided the impetus for my interest in being a life-long learner, my enthusiasm for problem-solving, and my energy for improving educational opportunities for others,” said Mrs. Ford.

In addition to faculty support, the Fords’ gift will provide for science research projects involving undergraduate students, a growing area of interest at the College, well known nationally for its strengths in humanities and the arts. A small part of the donation enabled the Sarah Lawrence students working on a biology project this summer to open their lab for a week to advanced biology students from Yonkers High School, giving them an opportunity to work at the college level on a National Science Foundation grant exploring molecular regulation of the immune system.

“One of our greatest needs is to support our greatest strength: the extraordinary faculty here who are dedicated to our unique way of teaching, a pedagogy that gives each of our students a personalized education,” said Karen R. Lawrence, president of the College. “This gift recognizes the importance of such support and at the same time provides an impetus for developing our science program.”