Dr. Lucille Ford

In the fall in 1979, Dr. Lucille G. Ford addresses a group of women at the Akron Women's Network annual banquet. She urged those assembled to "be aware of opportunities and live life," and for more than five decades she has been a shining example of that philosophy.

In 1940, when Dr. Ford and her peers were coming of age, only 77,000 women graduated from college with a bachelor’s degree. Dr. Ford graduated from the prestigious Stephens College and went on to earn a bachelor’s degree and a Master of Business Administration from Northwestern University and a Ph. D. in economics from Case Western Reserve University.

A university educator, author and administrator, nationally known economist and lecturer, political activist and community leader, Dr. Ford is perhaps best known as a trailblazer. She set the stage for women throughout the country in a number of arenas, including:

  • In the 1960s, she was the first and only woman to serve on the Ohio Edison Co. Board of directors and was the first woman appointed to serve on the board of directors of National City Bank, Cleveland. These appointments set the stage for other women to join the ranks of men on boards of large corporations and banks.
  • In the 1978 primary gubernatorial race, she made political history when she ran for lieutenant governor as Rep. Charles Kurfess’ running mate.

Dr. Ford came to Ashland University in 1967 as professor of economics and, exhibiting the entrepreneurial spirit characteristic of her family, she was instrumental in creating the Gill Center for Business and Economic Education and was named the director of the Gill Center in 1974.

She was named dean of the School of Business Administration, Economics, and Radio/TV in 1979 and off-campus programming was expanded during this time. She also was instrumental in guiding the offerings of several new majors and developing educational programs for adult students, both undergraduate and master of business administration.

She was named vice president of academic affairs in 1986, and, under her guidance, the Nursing Program, Writing Center, the Honors Program, and many other academic activities were revised or introduced.

As vice president of academic affairs and later as provost in 1990, she provided the academic leadership for Ashland University, administering both graduate and undergraduate programs, continuing education programs and special programs.

 Her administrative career at Ashland University was truly impressive, and despite her many responsibilities, she personally instructed more than 3,000 economics and business students throughout her career.

She retired as executive assistant to the president at Ashland University on June 30, 1995, and as one of her last official acts, she presented the address at the spring commencement ceremonies and received an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters.

Following this retirement, she accepted three more important challenges in her life – serving as a member of Ashland University’s board of trustees, chairing Ashland University’s “Building on Strength” capital campaign and serving as president of the Ashland County Community Foundation.

Lucille G. Ford has received numerous honors and awards during her career. She was inducted into the Ohio Women’s Hall of Fame in 2001 and in 2003 was recognized as a Distinguished Alumni from Ashland High School and received the Ashland University Glenn L. Clayton Award.