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Blazing a Trail for Future Students

Blazing a Trail for Future Students

Betty Ward '45 doesn't mind telling you: she wasn't a straight-A student at her high school in Hanover, N.H. But her life changed when she came to UNH as a college freshman in the fall of 1942. "I discovered biology, microbiology and I just . . . WOW!" she says of identifying the passion that would become her career. Thanks to enthusiastic professors she followed her passion and went on to pursue a lifetime working in the biosciences.

At UNH, Ward transformed from the little girl who had collected bugs and got microscopes for Christmas into a young woman immersed in classes in organic chemistry, physics, comparative anatomy and biology. After graduating, she landed a job as a medical technologist in the labs at Mary Hitchcock Hospital in Hanover, where she worked for more than 50 years.

Both she and her partner, Pip Richens, who studied math, recognize that these days, qualified students sometime choose not to attend college because of the high costs. They wanted to support those future students, and honor Betty's role as a trailblazer at a time when there were few women working in biosciences.

The opportunities she found here and the career her UNH education made possible are the reasons why she donates to fund scholarships now, and why she is including her alma mater in her will. Ward has committed to making annual gifts during her lifetime to fund the Elizabeth Ward Scholarship Fund providing need-based scholarships for underrepresented New Hampshire students studying science, technology, engineering or math. Her commitment will continue in perpetuity after her death as she has also committed to leaving $3 million from her estate to endow her scholarship fund.


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