Couple's legacy gift helps tomorrow's undergraduates
As longtime supporter Bill Ford put it, his relationship with Berkeley was “one of the most important things I ever did.”
“Even though you’re not an alumnus, we’re happy you found a home at Cal.” With these words, former Chancellor Robert Berdahl aptly characterized the deep attachment the late Bill Ford felt toward Berkeley for more than six decades. Bill’s connection to Cal — and that of his late wife, Grace ’37 — was always a family one. And, as Bill put it, his relationship with Berkeley was “one of the most important things I ever did.”
The William and Grace Ford Undergraduate Scholarship Match, provided by a generous bequest from the Fords, was a dollar-for-dollar match for new endowed scholarship gifts of $100,000. Since fall 2012, it has endowed 100 percent of scholarships planned in half the time originally expected. Ten of them are athletic scholarships, as befits these avid fans: Grace introduced Bill to Cal football, and Bill attended every home game from 1946 to 2010. The scholarships, with the match, total $8 million.
This type of giving attests to the powerful impact of bequests. Of the $3.13 billion raised in the campaign, bequests (in ranges from $5,000 to $5 million plus) accounted for $261 million.
Bill wished to open the arms of his Cal family as wide as possible. So it was no surprise when he cited his primary reason for his generosity: “Grace. She loved the place. She probably could have gone to school there the rest of her life.”