University of Maryland (UMD) alumni John Ford ‘64 and Sandra Poster ‘64 met during their undergraduate years in the UMD Theatre program, then known as Speech & Dramatic Arts. They went on to build careers in speech and communications, and they are longtime patrons of the arts. This past year, they decided to make a gift to the University of Maryland’s School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies (TDPS) to support the future of performing arts education.
“My wife Sandy and I were so fortunate to have met as undergraduates in the Theatre program and worked side by side on many a production and to have grown our love of the performing arts (and each other) through those wonderful times. We then pursued parallel and related careers over the ensuing years. Fifty seven years later, we still love the performing arts (and each other) and are immensely grateful to UMD for the inspiration and the career training. It is our joy to say thanks and to give back.”
The gift will create an operating endowment to support the School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies’ mission and excellence of education. Income from the fund would support an array of important areas, including but limited to scholarships, graduate assistantships, faculty research, instructional technology, and more.
John C. Ford ‘64, Chair of TDPS Board of Visitors with his wife, Sandra Poster ‘64 (photo credit: Geoff Sheil/The Clarice)
John Ford has had a long career in New York City on Wall Street and in broadcasting, and has more recently shifted to consulting in organizational development and communications for financial, entertainment, and high tech firms. He is the Chair of the Board of Visitors for TDPS and he sits on numerous other committees in academe, the arts and community affairs.
Sandra (Sollod) Poster has just retired after fifty years as a full professor of Speech, Communication and Theater Arts at the Borough of Manhattan Community College (CUNY). There she developed communication skills training programs, and she has also written and produced numerous promotional and instructional videos, live events, and fundraising activities. She won a prestigious scriptwriting Emmy Award for the “We Are New York” series in 2009.
Ford and Poster worked side by side on many theatre productions during their time at UMD in the 1960s, as well as on a radio show at the university’s WMUC station (for those who know, Poster was the ubiquitous “Miss Midnight”). They both mark their 75th birthdays this year and are still avid patrons of theatre and dance.
Ford says, “We are so grateful to Maryland, most of all for introducing us to one another in 1960 and then imparting a lifelong love of the arts.”
By Kate Spanos