(The text on this page may not match the audio exactly. It includes revisions made by the interviewee.)
Ward Discusses his Grandfather, Harold A. Ward I (Play Audio)
Ward: Later on, he served for a while as a trustee at Rollins – much, much later, of course not while he was still a student. But, he, then after his education, which did not go much beyond the academy, he, like his father, was farming at citrus and worked with his family, and then he opened a store on Park Avenue, which was sort of a general store, or perhaps if he didn’t open it, he at least worked there, and got into real estate and that sort of thing, and in connection with that, he met Mr. Charles Morse, who was one of the early well-to-do people in Winter Park. And the story as he used to tell it, was that Mr. Morse came in and said that he was interested in some real estate – he wanted to buy some real estate. So my grandfather was thinking about what can I show him that would be suitable, and Mr. Morse said, “No, no, you don’t understand. I want to buy a lot of real estate.” He ended up buying the town that was for sale - the old Winter Park Company assets. He apparently took a liking to my grandfather, because he appointed him as his agent in Winter Park, since Mr. Morse still lived most of the time in Chicago and had his winter home here in Winter Park. And that was the beginning of the Winter Park Land Company, which was the company that they formed to hold the assets, and my grandfather worked there for most of – well for all of – his life; he retired right after his 50th anniversary, but died soon after that, so it – I mean it was his entire career.
Ward Discusses Growing Up in Winter Park (Play Audio)
Ward: Anyway, growing up in Winter
Park was, you know, I thought a wonderful experience. I look back on it:
I don’t know how we survived without air-conditioning, but we did; we
didn’t have anything like that and it was hot like the Dickens and there
were bugs and all of that, but it was a great place to grow up, a small
community, it was really more separate from Orlando and the metropolitan
area then than it is obviously now; it’s engulfed by other – other
buildup. But we lived for the first nine years of my life out on
Oakhurst Avenue in a small framed house, which no longer exists; it was
torn down, and there is a great big huge house there now, but that was
the only house in Comstock Park other than Mr. Comstock’s house and a
couple of others, and there were no other houses on Oakhurst or in the
block across the street on Palmer. And Mr. Harris, who was living down
in the Comstock house would bring his cow each day up to the pasture
across the street from our house.
Ward Discusses Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black (Play Audio)
Ward: I also had the wonderful experience of being able to ride with him back here to Florida. Twice during the year, the court takes a recess in Christmas and then again in February. Justice Black was a great tennis player and he loved at that time of year to come to Florida to play tennis. And he had a place that he went to in Miami that he liked. So, he and I drove down on both of those occasions, and he dropped me off either in Winter Park where my folks could pick us up, and pick me up in Titusville or somewhere in between if we were going straight down the coast. So I got to spend a good bit of time with him one-on-one and get acquainted. And he was just a remarkable person that you could feel very comfortable with and that you could learn so much from that, it was an outstanding experience for me. On one of the trips, we went through Birmingham, Alabama, which was his hometown and where he had practiced law before he went to the senate, and his son – his older son – Hugo Black, Jr. lived there and was practicing law there, and this term of court – the fifty-five term – was the term right after the term in which Brown vs. Board of Education was decided, so it was quite a time of turmoil in terms of the South particularly and segregation in the schools.
Ward Discusses his Early Exposure to Rollins (Play Audio)
Ward: Well, my first connection with Rollins as a kid, I think was selling the program for the Animated Magazine, which was held out here in Sandspur Bowl before the administration building was there. And Hamilton Holt brought in some really big named folks: movie stars and athletes and writers, and Edward Murrow and Greer Garson - these names may not mean much to your generation, but they certainly did to ours. That was a connection with Rollins. And then during World War II, my dad was just over the age to be eligible for military service and all three of his brothers went, but he was old, so was here, but there weren’t many other folks that had any technical abilities, and so he was fixing radios for everybody and one of the things he did was to run the projector at the Annie Russell Theater for the weekly college movie. The College would put on a movie for the students that they would come to once a week, and he got to do that. So my sister and I got to come down and watch the movie for nothing. We had to sit up in the balcony and stay away from the college students, but we had a good time doing that.
Ward Discusses the College’s Presidents (Play Audio)
Ward: All three of these presidents that I’ve worked with–Thad, Rita, and Lewis–are totally different people, different personalities, different interests, different approaches, but all three have such unique qualities in their way of approaching things. And the one thing that they all totally share is a vision for this College. That’s where we want to be and then where we’re trying to be and where we have gone a long way toward being, I think. And Lewis, I think, had really emphasized the faculty scholarship – Rita did too, and then Thad – but he’s emphasized that, and he comes across as more of an academic in his approach to the community than perhaps either of them did, though both of them were strong academics in their own right. Rita’s just written another book – she is a remarkable woman. But I think – and Lewis has made some really good decisions about governance and the faculty and students and the administration and has provided a lot of leadership.