February 24, 2020
Jean has been a member of the Lewis & Clark community for more than five decades. After teaching high school American history, she joined the faculty as an instructor of speech/communication and director of forensics in 1964, when few women were teaching at the college level. During her 42 years in the Department of Communication (now rhetoric and media studies), Jean’s teaching and scholarship reflected her love for the study of rhetoric and history. She chaired many college committees and faculty meetings, and she held a variety of administrative posts, such as cofounder and director of the Gender Studies Program, director of the Inventing America Program, department chair, assistant dean, and associate dean of faculty.
After retirement in 2006, Jean served as faculty representative to the Albany Society Board, and she remains involved in alumni activities, often as an invited speaker. Colleagues and alumni have honored her with the establishment of the Jean Ward Collection in Gender Studies at Aubrey Watzek Library; the Jean Ward Invitational High School Forensic Tournament; the Jean Ward Scholarship for students in the social sciences and humanities; and the Jean Ward Forensic Scholarship.
Jean’s current research on the history of Lewis & Clark began in the 1980s when she learned of the Albany College Women’s League. She believes strongly in understanding our “institutional DNA,” and she enjoys sharing stories of our “Cinderella College” with campus audiences and through publications such as The Oregon Encyclopedia and Oregon Historical Quarterly.