The study of western history at Frostburg State University and in the state of Maryland will be greatly enhanced, thanks to two gifts from longtime FSU supporter Ralph M. Race. The endowed funds, named in honor of Race and his late wife, Martha T. Race, will support an annual lecture series and provide scholarships to students who plan to teach history.
"History, as it has been carried down to us, is fascinating. There's no fiction that can touch it," said Race, a native of Frostburg and former president of Fidelity Bank.
The Martha T. and Ralph M. Race Western History Lecture Fund will support a series of talks on the topics of the cultures and political systems that arose around the Mediterranean Sea, including the Near East, Africa north of the Sahara Desert and the Western - American - hemisphere. The program will bring outstanding scholars on those topics to campus for professional presentations, which will be open to the public and free of charge.
The majority of the Races' donation will go toward scholarships and will provide awards to junior, senior or graduate students in the FSU College of Education. The scholarships are designed to increase the number of qualified teachers of western history in Maryland secondary schools and to encourage a wider understanding of the importance of western history. The Races felt strongly that Americans should know the history of the societies that gave rise to the form of government and culture enjoyed by United States citizens. If not, that government and culture may disappear.
"If you don't read and learn, you end up having to experience it," and the efforts of those who have gone before are lost. "It doesn't pay us to go through it again," Race said.
FSU President Catherine R. Gira applauded Race's dedication to educating future teachers. "Ralph Race has, really, a passion to provide a means for generations of college students to learn about their heritage, and, with the scholarships for future teachers, to allow those students to transmit that heritage," Gira said.
The Races' connection to Frostburg State goes back to the beginning of their courtship, at a dance held in Old Main. Later, after returning from service in the Pacific during World War II, Race was one of the citizens who fought to keep the college open when the state planned to close it. Later, not long after the FSU Foundation Inc. was founded, Race joined the board, serving more than 20 years, including many years as treasurer.
"Ralph and Martha have been mainstream supporters of Frostburg State University for many years," said Jack Aylor, director of the FSU Foundation Inc.
"Ralph was selected as the first recipient of the FSU Foundation's highest honor, the Pinnacle Award, in 1993. He is responsible for generating many of the scholarship endowments from alumni, friends and organizations. The legacy of the Race family name will continue in perpetuity with Frostburg State University," Aylor said.
For further information on this release, contact:
Office of News and Media Services
Frostburg State University
101 Braddock Road
Frostburg, MD 21532-2303