Stephen D. Ford
Stephen D. Ford VLS ’73, and his wife, Mary, of Glen Mills, PA, have committed a $1 million gift to Villanova University School of Law (VLS). The gift further endows The Stephen D. and Mary C. Ford Scholarship, established by the couple in 2010 to support an incoming first-year student from New England who is deserving of assistance because of academic merit and/or financial need and who demonstrates an interest in public interest legal work.
“Steve Ford exemplifies what it means to be a Villanova lawyer—a successful corporate leader who remains dedicated to serving the greater good,” said John Y. Gotanda, Dean of Villanova University School of Law. “Through the further support of this scholarship, Steve and Mary are helping to ensure that future Villanova lawyers have the opportunity to follow in their footsteps, continuing the Villanova tradition of leadership through service. This new gift will provide financial support to deserving students for many years to come. We are immensely grateful to Steve and Mary for their continued generosity and support.”
A graduate of Colby College, Mr. Ford enrolled at Villanova University School of Law in 1968, but his legal education was interrupted by two years of service as a Military Police Sergeant with the United States Army. He was a member of the Villanova Law Review as a student, acting as Managing Editor of the journal in 1972-73. Mr. Ford continued serving Villanova as a Master of the Villanova University School of Law J. Willard O’Brien American Inn of Court, as co-chair of the Leadership Gifts Committee for the Campaign for Villanova Law, as a member of the Advisory Board to the Villanova Sports & Entertainment Law Journal, and as a volunteer with the School’s award-winning Lawyering Together Program, which matches practicing attorneys with VLS students to work on pro bono cases. He has also been a member of the Law School's New York City Alumni Chapter Board. Mr. Ford’s daughter, Victoria, is a 2006 graduate of Villanova University School of Law.
“My experiences at Villanova Law School—especially with Deans Reuschlein and O’Brien, the faculty, and my classmates—impressed upon me that hard work would pay dividends,” said Mr. Ford. “As a recipient of financial support as a law student, it was only fitting that I give back in a way that enables others to pursue their dreams, especially those looking to dedicate their careers to public service. I hope this gift encourages other alumni to give back in support of the next generation of Villanova lawyers.”
Mr. Ford began his distinguished career with Scott Paper Company upon graduation from VLS, serving for 23 years and eventually as Deputy General Counsel & Corporate Secretary for the multi-billion dollar corporation. He later joined the global beauty leader Coty Inc. in 1996, becoming the first Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary for the company. Since his retirement from Coty in 2008, Mr. Ford has provided legal consulting services to the consumer products industry with a focus on licensing and marketing, and related commercial and contractual matters. He also provides pro bono legal services for several Philadelphia-area nonprofits, including Malvern Retreat House, Neumann University, and Philadelphia VIP.
Mr. Ford serves on the Advisory Board for Ithaca College’s School of Humanities and Sciences and as part of the Ithaca College President's Roundtable. He formerly served on the Board of Governors for Fitzgerald Mercy Hospital. He has been a member of numerous professional organizations, including the Association of Corporate Counsel, the Society of Corporate Secretaries and Governance Professionals, and the Cosmetics, Toiletries, and Fragrance Association.