You might say that to know Alma Logsdon was to love her – and to be ready to roll up your sleeves and pitch in for a meaningful cause or event.
During her long-time tenure as one of Frostburg’s favorite alumni, Logsdon single-handedly organized legions of volunteers to help the FSU Alumni Association label, sort and bag thousands of “Profile” magazines for mass mailings several times a year. She also worked tirelessly to reach out to former classmates for Golden Anniversary class reunions. And these activities were in addition to her numerous roles she served in community organizations like the Allegany County Teacher’s Association, International Society of Women Educators, Allegany County League of Women Voters, local nursing homes and the American Red Cross.
It’s not surprising that Logsdon, who graduated from Frostburg with a three-year certificate in elementary education in1934 and a bachelor’s degree in education in 1946, was eventually honored as “Volunteer Extraordinaire” by the FSU Alumni Association Board of Directors. And that her love for her alma mater – and for education in general – inspired her to generously support FSU, first by creating a gift that reflected her personal connection to the University, and then by ensuring that gift would continue growing for years to come.
Her first step was to establish the Alma Logsdon Endowed Scholarship to support elementary education students. The Alma Logsdon Scholarship Fund is given annually to an outstanding senior student in elementary education who has demonstrated scholarship, research and community service and who has an overall grade point average of 3.5 or better.
“One of Alma’s concerns was the cost of higher education,” said Colleen Peterson, who got to know Logsdon during her 21-year tenure at FSU as its director of alumni programs and later as its vice president of University Advancement. “She loved Frostburg State for many reasons, but perhaps none as much as its ability to offer an excellent educational product at an affordable cost. … In Alma’s mind, it was important to provide assistance to students whose personal circumstances may not allow the opportunity to continue their educational pursuits. Alma believed that helping others to help themselves was a responsibility and she took that responsibility very seriously.”
Logsdon later infused her scholarship with more resources. She had wanted to give her house to the Foundation but life circumstances led her to sell her house and move into an assisted living facility. Through the careful stewardship of sales proceeds, Alma was able to still accomplish this goal with a bequest that provided $144,458 in much-needed support.
“It’s really special when a dedicated alum like Alma not only creates a gift of personal significance, but then ensures the longevity of that gift and of their legacy at FSU by including us in their Will,” said B.J. Davisson, vice president for University Advancement and executive director of the FSU Foundation, Inc.
It was an act of philanthropy that was a portrait of Logsdon’s own personal experiences with being able to afford a college degree and getting a career of opportunity out of it. She experienced the benefits of a college education firsthand when, despite the financial challenges of the Great Depression, she was able to enroll at Frostburg, where she excelled in the classroom and on the basketball court. As a senior, in 1933-34, she scored 62 points in the four games on statistical record, a 15.5 game average; she was later inducted into FSU Bobcat Hall of Fame in 1994 for her impressive basketball record. She later put her degree to good use, teaching at a variety of elementary schools, eventually serving as principal for several years. Throughout her life, she also always managed to find time to help others, taking care of her ailing parents and uncle until their deaths and reaching out to those who needed it the most at Frostburg United Methodist Church, where she taught the Fellowship Bible Sunday School class for over 40 years.
“A lot of people, they want to do something, but they’re not sure how to go about it, not sure what to do,” said Frostburg resident Aleene Plummer, a member of Frostburg United Methodist. “Alma was someone who could really talk to them and get them on the right path.”
Logsdon put Plummer on the right path after Plummer’s husband of over 60 years passed away and she found herself unable to decide what to do next. A few days after the funeral, despite her shock and grief, Plummer managed to make herself go to church, where Logsdon was right there waiting for her in the hallway with an invitation to join her Sunday School class.
“I don’t know whether I would have made it through after my husband passed away if she hadn’t been there waiting for me in the hallway that day,” said Plummer, who became good friends with Logsdon, often joining her for lunch after church. “But it’s like Alma said – you can work hard, sometimes you do good, other times you fail on things. But still you keep going, you never quit.”
Logsdon eventually passed away in October 2009, leaving behind more good memories with those who knew her best than she may have ever imagined.
Peterson used to visit Logsdon at the assisted living facility in Bedford, Pa., where she lived out her last days in a room decorated with several pieces of Frostburg State memorabilia.
“While I never doubted Alma’s appreciation and love for her alma mater, I gained new insights into how important it really was to her during that time,” Peterson said. “She often commented that Frostburg provided the tools for the life she loved and she would always be grateful for that opportunity and everything that followed because of it.”
The FSU Foundation has embarked on a $15 million comprehensive campaign, Staking Our Claim: The Campaign for Frostburg, to raise badly needed funding for higher education in Western Maryland. Donations to the Foundation support student scholarships and programs, academic programs, faculty development and other critical University needs. For more information about supporting FSU, visit www.frostburg.edu/admin/foundation or call 301-687-4161.