Poet returns to CWRU Feb. 10 to raise funds for scholarship fund in memory of staff member

Acclaimed poet and former Case Western Reserve university faculty member Thomas Sayers Ellis will perform several of his works Feb. 10 as part of an event to increase awareness of an initiative to raise funds for the establishment of an endowed scholarship in the memory of Frederica Ward. The reading, which is free and open to the public, will take place in Guilford House. A reception with the poet begins at 4 p.m., followed by a reading and book signing at 5 p.m.

Frederica Ward, known as Freddy by family and friends, was the administrative assistant in the Department of English before she passed away in September 2010. A beloved member of the English department for more than 17 years and a Case Western Reserve staff member for more than 20, Freddy is remembered by students, alumni, faculty and staff as patient, caring and generous—a woman whose smile and calming spirit held the department together like a “social glue.” The department is raising funds in her honor to endow a scholarship that will provide support for African American undergraduates in the College of Arts and Sciences.

Ellis, who knew Freddy when he was an associate professor in the Department of English, has been called “one of the most gifted poets of his generation” by historian Robin D.G. Kelley. His works examine race, celebrity and politics in America, among other topics. Ellis’ latest collection of poetry, Skin, Inc., was published by Graywolf Press in 2010.

The event is sponsored by several Case Western Reserve entities: the Helen Buchman Endowed Fund for Poetry; the Office of Inclusion, Diversity and Equal Opportunity; the Postdoctoral Fellowship Program in African American Studies; and the President’s Advisory Council on Minorities.

For more information about the event, contact Susan Grimm at 368.1508 or sxd290@case.edu.

To contribute to the Frederica Ward Memorial Fund, contact Christina Vellios, director of annual giving, at 368.3549 or christina.vellios@cwru.edu.