UWG Mourns Loss of Former President Pafford

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The University of West Georgia mourns the loss of President-Emeritus Ward B. Pafford, who died on Sunday at the age of 99.

In 1971, Dr. Pafford became the fourth president of West Georgia College, succeeding James Boyd, who had become a vice chancellor of the university system. A literary scholar, Dr. Pafford helped to restore a deteriorating relationship between the college and the local community and inaugurated a faculty senate.

The University of West Georgia mourns the loss of President-Emeritus Ward B. Pafford, who died on Sunday at the age of 99.In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations in Dr. Pafford’s memory be made to the Sally Pafford Memorial Scholarship Fund at the University of West Georgia, 1601 Maple St., Carrollton, Ga. 30118-0001, or Hospice Atlanta, 1244 Park Vista Drive, Atlanta, Ga. 30319, or St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church, 606 Newnan St., Carrollton, Ga. 30117.

Dr. Pafford set up new procedures to standardize hiring practices and promotions. He established a planning council to reorganize the college. The council, led by history professor Newt Gingrich, drafted a plan that replaced the six academic divisions with four schools, three of which would become colleges.

In 1974, Dr. Pafford decided to return to his first love, the classroom. He would retire from the presidency in 1975.

Prior to serving as West Georgia’s president, he was a professor of English at Emory University and a dean at Valdosta State College.

He was succeeded at West Georgia by Maurice Townsend, who would become the institution’s fifth president.

“We are deeply saddened at the passing of this stalwart of higher education in Georgia,” said Beheruz N. Sethna, president of the University of West Georgia. “In 1998, I requested the Board of Regents to allow us to name the social sciences building after him in recognition of his great service, and that approval was soon granted. We kept in touch via email and he was always very prompt with his responses.

“My last email to him was to let him know that the new dean of social sciences would be in the Pafford Building. This is one message that went unanswered, which made me fear for his health. While I did not hear back from him, I think he would have been pleased had he known of this.

“He was a wonderful friend of the University of West Georgia, and very supportive of all we did, and indeed of me personally. I will miss him very much.”

Born on Oct. 25, 1911, in Jesup, Ga., Dr. Pafford was the son of the late Bascom Anthony Pafford and Jeanette Dukes Pafford.

A graduate of Savannah High School, he received his bachelor's and master's degrees from Emory University, and his doctorate from Duke University.

Dr. Pafford began his teaching career at Moultrie High School, and later served as instructor in English at Clemson College, assistant professor of English at Emory Junior College in Valdosta, Ga., and professor of English at Emory University. From 1953 until 1958, he was chairman of the English department at Emory, where he later became director of graduate studies in English. In 1966, he was named dean of the college at Valdosta State, where he later served as vice president and dean of faculties.

Dr. Pafford was a member of Sigma Chi, Omicron Delta Kappa and Phi Beta Kappa. He was the author of many scholarly articles, as well as numerous newspaper articles and published poems. His areas of study and research concentrated on 19th century English literature and romantic poetry.

During his academic career, he was associate editor of the South Atlantic Bulletin, a managing chairman of the editorial board of the Emory University Quarterly, and a member of the South Atlantic Modern Language Association.  He was a voracious reader, and an avid fan of baseball and golf – a sport he worked diligently to conquer over the years. 

Dr.  Pafford was predeceased by his cherished wife of 48 years, Sarah Jones (Sally) Pafford, his second wife, Ellen Nooe Rose Pafford, and his sister, Helen Pafford Bukowick. He leaves behind his daughter Connie Pafford Broom and her husband James M. Broom, Jr.; daughter Martha Pafford Schindhelm and her husband Robert K. Schindhelm; grandson Matt Broom and his wife Sheri; grandson Ward Broom and his wife Donna; granddaughter Joanna Schindhelm Coe, and granddaughter Jessica Maria Schindhelm and her husband, Joseph M. Ferrara, and great-grandchildren Clay and Max Broom, Ben and Riley Coe, and Anne and Oscar Ferrara.  Survivors also include his adored stepchildren the Rev. Margaret Rose and her daughters Hannah and Miriam Baker; Richard Rose, his wife Catherine and their three sons, Richard Jr., Turner and Davis; and Frank Rose III and Christopher Rose, sons of the late Frank Rose Jr., and Barclay and Charles Cunningham, the children of the late Georgeann Rose Cunningham.  Dr. Pafford also leaves many cherished cousins, nieces and nephews.

A memorial service will take place at St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church in Carrollton at a date to be announced.  Interment at Riverdale Cemetery in Columbus, Ga., will be private.