University Names Building in Honor of Founding Dean
On September 14, 2007, the College honored one of its founding fathers when the former Business Administration Building was named the Donald H. Ford Building. As the first dean of the College of Human Development, Ford served from 1967 to 1977, during which time he developed the new college—the first of its kind in the nation—from the ground up.
The pouring rain did little to dampen the enthusiasm of the faculty, staff, administrators, alumni, and friends who attended the ceremony. In fact, Collins Airhihenbuwa, professor and head of the Department of Biobehavioral Health, remarked that in his home nation of Nigeria, rain during such a ceremonious occasion is viewed as auspicious.
The ceremony was a time for celebrating Ford’s role in shaping the College. “Don was a key figure in creating the modern era of health and human development not only at Penn State, but nationally,” said Penn State President Graham Spanier. “Under his leadership, he helped establish the most successful college of its kind in the United States and one of the great colleges in the history of Penn State.”
Ford recognized his wife, Carol Clark Ford, for the role she played in helping to recruit faculty to the new college. He passed on to current faculty the advice that his wife shared with him in 1967 when he became dean: “Build a college that has a heart as well as a mind.” He also encouraged faculty to take advantage of the opportunity to explore new opportunities and look toward the future. “Seize this opportunity,” he said. “Think about what socially important, cutting-edge efforts you might pursue next.”
The Ford Building houses the Departments of Communication Sciences and Disorders; Health Policy and Administration; and Recreation, Park and Tourism Management; in addition to the Speech and Hearing Clinic. Nan Crouter, dean of the College, commented that the new space allows for departments “to configure themselves in ways that facilitate new partnerships and research opportunities.”
Crouter reminded the audience that the Ford Building will long serve as a reminder of the College’s history and Ford’s critical role in shaping that history. “Tomorrow’s students will casually say to one another, ‘I’ll meet you outside Ford,’” she remarked. “What could be a more fitting acknowledgement of Don’s many contributions than to have his name added to the geography of the campus he loves so much?”