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A Baltimore County Couple is Making College Dreams Possible for Maryland Students

A gift from George and Jennifer Ward Reynolds awards $160,000 scholarships for high-achieving Maryland students to attend Dickinson College.
By MaryAlice Bitts-Jackson of Dickinson College

George and Jennifer Ward Reynolds recognize the transformative power of a future-focused education. After seeing the magic at work in their lives and in their community, this Maryland couple is helping a new generation of movers and shakers access educational opportunities that will empower them to make a meaningful difference in Maryland and around the world.

Life-Changing College Scholarships for Maryland Students

The Reynolds Leadership Scholar Program is open to high-achieving students who live and/or study in the Old Line state. It begins with a four-year, $160,000 scholarship to Jennifer’s alma mater Dickinson College, a prestigious liberal-arts institution less than 50 miles from the Pennsylvania-Maryland state line. Reynolds Leadership Scholars also will take advantage of exclusive leadership and career-mentorship connections with successful Maryland-based professionals.

Paying It Forward to Maryland’s Burgeoning Leaders

Jennifer’s Maryland roots trace back to her father, R. Walter Ward, a North Carolina farm boy who moved here during the Great Depression. Unable to afford college upon graduating from Bel Air High School, he established a home-building and real estate sales business in Harford County with a high school classmate. When the banks declined to make loans to the enterprising young men, they were able to secure backing from local farmers —a demographic better equipped to recognize the economic impact two smart, hard-working kids can make.

Although Walter didn’t attend college, he believed deeply in the importance of a good education, and he worked hard to ensure that his family enjoyed that advantage. After attending public schools in Bel Air, Jennifer earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Dickinson and a master’s in finance from Loyola University. A chartered financial analyst with more than 30 years’ experience in asset management, including service as vice chair and chief investment officer of Legg Mason Trust, Jennifer is now, with her brother Bob Ward, a partner and director of Ward Properties, a Harford County-based commercial real-estate firm.

George grew up in Lancaster, Pa., and graduated from Wesleyan University and the Boston University School of Law. Like Walter, George hung his shingle in Maryland. He’s practiced law here ever since, with a focus on education and tax law, estate planning and administration, trusts and elder care. He now practices with the Miles & Stockbridge firm.

Over the years, the couple has been involved with the Irvine Nature Center, where George is a board member; the Walters Art Museum; Sheppard Pratt; and the Baltimore School for the Arts. George is also a past Maryland chair of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel and past board member for the Howard County Conservancy, St. Joseph Hospital Foundation and the National Arthritis Foundation of Maryland. Jennifer is a long-time member of Dickinson’s board of trustees. She also is a board member of Stevenson University, a member of the President’s Advisory Council of Notre Dame of Maryland University, and chair emerita and board member at the National Aquarium.

She’s twice been named one of Maryland’s Top 100 Women by The Daily Record, and she’s a past recipient of the Distinguished Women’s Award from the Girl Scouts of Greater Maryland.

Jennifer and George are highly engaged with Dickinson. In addition to Jennifer’s board service, which spans more than 20 years, including nearly 10 years as board chair, they have hosted many college gatherings and events, including a biannual welcome reception for new Dickinson students and their families, which local alumni also attend.

Career-Mentorship and Leadership Opportunities

Similar networking opportunities are available to Reynolds Leadership Scholars, though on a grander scale. Because the $160,000 scholarship—distributed over eight semesters of full-time study—is awarded to several students each year, recipients attend college as a cohort. That built-in, place-based social and professional network will continue to grow as they sharpen leadership skills through a dedicated leadership-training program that connects them with Maryland-based professionals. They’ll also connect with Dickinson leaders and Maryland-based alumni through annual Reynolds Leadership Scholars dinners, hosted by the benefactors.

For students, it’s a chance to attend a prestigious college, take advantage of Dickinson’s renowned global-education programs and seize the knowledge, skills, experiences and connections they’ll need to succeed in their chosen fields. For Jennifer and George, it’s a way to help promote community-building and innovation by investing in and connecting some of Maryland’s brightest and best.

“Dickinson offers a world-class education, and Maryland has given so much to my family—it’s a great place to live and work, and the place where we launched our careers,” Jennifer says. “This is a chance to give back by lifting future leaders from the state I love to new heights.”