Endeavor Foundation gift honors Ann McIlhenny Harward P’86, P’92 by endowing interdisciplinary program focused on culture and music

Music can have a powerful and transformative impact, communicating and creating connections in ways that spoken words alone fail to do. Ann Harward understood that.

An accomplished musician at an early age, Ann McIlhenny Harward P’86, P’92, understood music’s transformative power. She grew up in the town of Gettysburg and watched her two children graduate from Gettysburg College, where her father, Hugh McIlhenny ’32, had also graduated. Ann’s life was immersed in higher education and she appreciated the value of a liberal arts approach where learning happens across disciplines and through unique and transformative experiences.

Ann McIlhenny Harward
Ann McIlhenny Harward P’86, P’92

These ideas have inspired a new program at Gettysburg College, established by the Endeavor Foundation and envisioned by Ann’s husband, Donald W. Harward P’86, P’92 in honor of his late wife. The Ann McIlhenny Harward Interdisciplinary Fund for Culture and Music at Gettysburg College is a $1.5 million endowed fund designed to leverage the powerful and synergistic interplay of music and culture for our students, our campus, and the public. It will be dedicated to the humanities and humanistic sciences, ensuring that our holistic liberal arts and sciences approach remains at the program’s core.

“The Ann McIlhenny Harward Endowment and supported programs will examine the complex mix of culture and music, inquiry and performance—and the interdisciplinary perspectives needed to understand them,” said Donald Harward. “It can suggest how wholeness is formed from complexities and differences. It is also a testament as to why Gettysburg College, with its family of connections in her hometown, is such a wonderful context for honoring Ann."

Launching this spring thanks to an additional grant of $75,000 from the Endeavor Foundation, an organization which is dedicated to efforts that foster independent thought, ethical understanding, deep appreciation of the arts, and reverence for the natural world, the Harward fund will enable an annual series of interdisciplinary programs as well as events open to the broader campus and Gettysburg-area communities that will use music as the vehicle for exploring and understanding culture.

“We at Gettysburg College are deeply honored by this generous gift and so excited about the wonderful opportunities it presents,” said Provost Jamila Bookwala. “The Harward program will impact students from every major, and will bring together our campus community and Gettysburg-area residents to experience together the ways in which music brings us together and binds us.”

Africana Studies Chair Scott Hancock will serve as the program’s inaugural director for a two-year term and will lead a team of faculty and staff to advise on planning. The program will be housed in and overseen by the Office of the Provost, with James Day, director of the Sunderman Conservatory of Music, also serving as an advisor.

“The Ann McIlhenny Harward Program is exactly the kind of thing that motivated me to work at a liberal arts college,” Hancock noted. “Don Harward and the Endeavor Foundation have created the opportunity for us to weave together what at first glance may appear to be oddly matched threads from very different intellectual, cultural and scientific practices. But the liberal arts tradition teaches us that the best kinds of critical thinking—by tying together diverse academic disciplines—laces seemingly disparate threads into a wonderfully breathtaking whole. I look forward to being a part of this creative process.”

Four Scores performs in front of Plank Gym
Gettysburg's acapella group Four Scores performs in front of Plank Gym (Photo by Peter Francis '21).

‘A conviction to be whole’

The parents of Gettysburg College interdisciplinary studies major Brian Harward ’92 and French and political science double-major Sharon Harward Dorr ’86, Donald and Ann led long, established careers in higher education.

After earning a Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Maryland, Don taught at the University of Delaware and the College of Wooster, where he also served as a dean and vice president of academic affairs. He was selected as the sixth President of Bates College in 1989. At Bates, Don understood the importance of connecting the institution to the local community and he helped create one of the most active service-learning programs in the country. He also oversaw the development and building of 22 essential academic, residential, and athletic facilities. A trustee of the Endeavor Foundation, Don stepped down as Bates president in the fall of 2002. He received an honorary doctorate from Bates in 2003 and in 2005, The Harward Center for Community Partnerships was opened in Lewiston in his honor.

While her husband was leading institutions from the administrative side, Ann was equally instrumental in building bridges across the campuses where they lived and worked. The daughter of longtime Gettysburg Times editor Hugh McIlhenny, Ann attended Gettysburg High School and went on to earn degrees at Maryville College in Tennessee and Millikin University in Illinois.

From 1970 to 1982, Ann was a member of the University of Delaware’s School of Life and Health Sciences, where she directed a National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and National Science Foundation funded internship program for life science majors and coordinated the University’s Center for Science and Culture. In Wooster, Ann served as director of United Way and led the organization through its first million-dollar campaign. She also served as an assistant tennis coach with the Fighting Scots, becoming one of the first women to coach a men’s program at the institution.

The band My Favorite Intersection Performance
The band My Favorite Intersection, part of the campus arts and music organization Listeners and Performers, performs during Homecoming Weekend (Photo by Doug Huber '06/ProArts Media).

Like a conductor bringing together a diverse ensemble of musicians to play a harmonic melody, Ann sought creative ways to incorporate people from all walks of life into the communities they occupied. That held true at Bates following her husband’s appointment as president, where she initiated a series of collaborative and supportive programs across the campus and the community. She set up faculty-staff picnics and holiday brunches, helped Don with the institution’s philanthropy, and led fundraising efforts for the Lewiston Public Library. One of her most memorable legacies was designing educational programs for the spouses and partners of Board of Trustee members at Bates, including trips to community businesses and luncheons with students. In recognition of her commitment and passion for learning and engagement, she received a resolution of appreciation from the board in 1995 and was later honored with the establishment of endowed funds in her name.

“The Endeavor Foundation's magnificent endowment gift in Ann's name captures much of why we treasured her,” said Don. “Ann carried her many competencies, affections, and achievements with integrity—quietly and modestly. What and who she valued and held close, was joined with lifelong interests, especially music in its multiple forms. She held firm in being herself—a conviction to be whole—an identity greater than one assigned by roles and duties.”

Even in retirement, Ann remained active in creating interdisciplinary opportunities for engagement and learning in Washington, D.C., and Corea, Maine. She was a volunteer with both the Development Office of the Smithsonian Institution and the Mary McLeod Bethune House in D.C. In Maine, she helped plan and make possible the first Schoodic International Sculpture Symposium and was a volunteer host and guide for those visiting the Schoodic Peninsula region of Acadia National Park.

Making an impact on the future

The Ann McIlhenny Harward Interdisciplinary Fund for Culture and Music is an ode to Ann’s love of life and her passion for the impact the humanities can have in our society. She sought to leave the people and the world better than she found it, a pursuit interwoven into Gettysburg’s goal of providing its students with A Consequential Education, an education that seeks to teach students how to make their own impact and build a better world.

Beginning in the spring of 2024, the programming supported directly by this fund will enable students at Gettysburg College to enjoy experiential learning in a collaborative environment fueled by music. It will provide opportunities to learn and reflect on the various complexities of our communities and the impact our students can have on the future.

“Music offers us a very special lens through which we can communicate and hear one another,” said Day. “Music provides a space for embracing curiosity, creativity, and cultural diversity—essential ingredients to building more peaceful and sustainable societies. This fund provides us with a tremendous opportunity to collaborate across campus to explore the many dimensions of culture through music for the benefit of our campus and surrounding community.”

More information on the programs and opportunities offered through this fund will be announced in the coming months.

Learn more about the music program at Gettysburg College and the rich intellectual community that surrounds it.

By Corey Jewart
Posted: 10/30/23

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