Pollard Family Makes Half-Million Dollar Gift to Greensboro College

December 8, 2020 11:09 am
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December 8, 2020
Greensboro College Office of Communications
Pollard Family Makes Half-Million Dollar Gift to Greensboro College
An alumnus and his wife have made a half-million dollar gift to Greensboro College to fund three areas of priority for the College that match his and his family’s philanthropic interests: providing a scholarship for a student of color, improving accessibility on campus, and enhancing the timing and scoring ability on Pride Field with a new scoreboard.
By any measure, Mark Lewis Pollard, Class of 1966, is one of GC’s most successful graduates with a degree in psychology and minor in business. After graduating from GC, he earned a master’s degree in business administration from American University and went on to a career in finance and investments at Merrill Lynch. He and his wife, Carol, have worked with the College for the past several months to make a major gift to benefit current students.
“Mark and Carol Pollard’s transformational gift will increase Greensboro College’s accessibility to students on many levels,” said President Lawrence D. Czarda, Ph.D. “We are enormously grateful to them on behalf of the current and future students they will impact.”
Scholarship for a Person of Color
In late spring 2020, at the height of the pandemic lockdown and the national outcry for racial justice, Mark and his wife, Carol, were deciding how best to direct the College to use the major gift they were planning for his alma mater. GC students and alumni were holding a series of Campus Conversations about diversity, equity and inclusion. One of the 11 action items to come from those conversations was that GC elevate in priority the efforts to establish scholarships for Black students.
This effort especially appealed to the Pollards who asked many thoughtful questions about GC’s scholarship and financial aid allocation process, and explored what they could do as a family to make a college education more accessible for students of color. After much research and thought, they created the Mark L. Pollard ’66 and Carol S. Pollard Fund for a Person of Color Scholarship in Business and/or Accounting. The earnings from this $400,000 endowment fund will provide a full tuition scholarship for a sophomore, junior or senior student of color who will be recommended by the faculty in the School of Business.
In addition, because alumni and current students of color expressed interest this summer in contributing to such a scholarship, the Pollards set up the fund to accept gifts from others who wish to contribute.
Renovation of Main Building West Handicapped Entry
The second match of priorities for the Pollards and Greensboro College is their strong desire to make the historic campus more accessible for those with mobility issues. As a student leader in GC’s early years as a co-education institution, Mark enjoyed intramural basketball in what was the brand new Hanes Gymnasium, and he did have a passing appreciation for the historic beauty of GC’s campus. However, in January 1981, Mark was injured in an auto accident that resulted in his being paralyzed and having to navigate the world in a wheelchair.
As an active alumnus and later a GC trustee, he experienced the difficulty of attending meetings or alumni gatherings in Main Building, where college business and many services for students are located. The Pollards are pleased that part of their gift will fund renovations to Main Building to bring it into ADA compliance and make it easily accessible to anyone with business at GC.
The west entry ramp on Main Building is narrower than codes require and the double entry doors make entry especially difficult. However, altering the entry to Main Building, parts of which date back to the late 1870s, requires appropriate, and expensive, architectural designs and alterations that preserve the historic integrity of the building. The new entry, which will be built in early 2021, will keep the historic doorway but simply eliminate the second interior door and add electronic openers and push plates. Attractive stairs will replace the narrow ramp with a wider v-shaped ramp on the left side. The old granite benches will be relocated to the base of the ramp for seating of a small courtyard gathering space.
“Enhancing and improving our historic campus and facilities has been a priority for this Board of Trustees,” said Board Chair and fellow alumnus Kevin Green ’78. “When the Pollard’s facilities improvements are complete next spring, GC will be in the best shape I can remember, to serve our students.”
New Scoreboard for Pride Field
The third part of the Pollards’ gift is a new scoreboard for the southeast corner of Pride Field that will support the needs of sports on GC’s state-of-the-art turf field. It’s interesting to note that this new scoreboard takes the place of the 30-year-old scoreboard in the southwest corner of the field that Mark and Carol Pollard funded. The new scoreboard with LED lights will be installed in early 2021 for what is expected to be the busiest semester ever for field sports with fall and spring sports sharing the field. The scoreboard will anchor the Pride Field improvements including field lights and landscaping. GC football will also now be able to move games to Pride Field.
“When I was a young Athletic Director (AD) 30 years ago, trustee Mark Pollard and his wife Carol, funded the original scoreboard, which was at that time a huge improvement for GC’s athletic program,” said Kim Strable who returned as AD this past fall. “That he has stepped up again for Pride Athletics is tremendous; it is a game changer for us.”
Greensboro College provides a liberal arts education grounded in the traditions of the United Methodist Church and fosters the intellectual, social, and spiritual development of all students while supporting their individual needs.
Founded in 1838 and located in downtown Greensboro, the college enrolls about 1,000 students from 29 states and territories, the District of Columbia, and seven foreign countries in its undergraduate liberal-arts program and six master’s degree programs. In addition to rigorous academics and a well-supported Honors program, the school features a 17-sport NCAA Division III athletic program and dozens of service and recreational opportunities. Learn more at www.greensboro.edu.
Think critically. Act justly. Live faithfully.
GC Communications Dept.
Greensboro College
815 W. Market St.
Greensboro, N.C. 27401
336-272-7102, ext. 5491
Twitter: @Gboro_College

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This post was written by Tom Saitta