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, 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.
Some of the student unrest of the late 1960s spilled over to the 1970s on the West Georgia campus. Student drug arrests had become a problem and admission standards and retention rates were issues that had to be addressed. In addition, West Georgia faced some stiff competition from three other colleges that had recently opened within 50 miles of Carrollton.
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.”
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.