Friends and colleagues of Kelly Ward, in conjunction with the Washington State University Foundation, will host a fundraiser 6 p.m. Friday, May 24, at Etsi Bravo, 215 E. Main Street, Pullman, to support the Kelly Ward Memorial Pathway.

Ward, a celebrated and respected member of the WSU community, passed away suddenly after an accident in July 2018. The pathway is being designed on the Pullman campus to commemorate Ward’s expansive spirit, commitment to faculty development and equity, and love of walking meetings and the outdoors.

The cost is $20, and registration is available on the fundraiser website. There will be a silent auction, raffle, dancing and a no-host bar. All proceeds go to the Kelly Ward Memorial Pathway Fund.

“Kelly was famous for her walks, because they perfectly capture what she stood for: connecting with people on all levels, balancing work with life, and walking side-by-side with her colleagues, removing any barriers of status or hierarchy from our relationships,” said Leeann Hunter, past president of the Association for Faculty Women, at Ward’s memorial service. “With her fullest of hearts, Kelly walked by our sides, clearing a path for us, blazing her light on us, because she knew that we could change the world.”

Scholarship and service mark professional legacy

In her 15 years on the WSU campus and throughout her career, Ward was recognized as a respected teacher, researcher, advisor, mentor, and administrator who presented and consulted at universities across the world. In her most recent role, she served as WSU’s vice provost for faculty development and recognition.

“Kelly possessed unerring judgment when it came to ‘tapping’ future leaders whom she would mentor,” said colleague Glenys Hill. “While her technical skills were without equal, Kelly’s greatest gift was her ability to inspire, motivate and teach.”

Ward’s scholarly work focused on work-life balance, faculty career development and institutional change to support fairness, equity and diversity. Her book “Academic Motherhood” received the American Educational Research Association’s Division J Exemplary Publication award in 2013. She was named WSU Faculty Mentor of the Year and received the College of Education Excellence Award in Teaching, both in 2007.

For 12 years, Ward was the co-editor of the Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE) Report Series. She received the ASHE Barbara K. Townsend Award in recognition of her efforts to support and encourage faculty development in 2016, and in 2017 she received the ASHE Distinguished Service Award.

“Kelly will likely be most remembered as a champion for women faculty. Throughout her career, she fought to elevate the status of women throughout the academy and at WSU,” said Dan Bernardo, WSU provost. “She worked to better incorporate the complexity of women’s lives and careers into decisions around workload, advancement, and administrative appointments.”

Family, empathy and compassion mark personal legacy

Perhaps Ward’s greatest legacy is her family—husband Gene and children Daisy, Lucy and Henry. A devoted mother, Ward adored them and was forever proud of their achievements, sense of adventure and poise.

Outside of her family, Ward impacted almost everyone she met in a positive way. Lifelong friends and casual acquaintances were drawn into her confidence and inspired by her open, caring nature and knack for bringing out the best in others. She shared her enthusiasms with many through love of music, dancing, skiing, swimming, long walks, reading, traveling, quilting, and horses.

Those interested in learning more about the pathway or making an online gift may do so at the Kelly Ward Memorial Pathway website.