Ford Motor Company Fund: $1-Million for Design Scholarships

Gary S. Vasilash

William Clay Ford, who died earlier this week, was the last remaining grandchild of Henry Ford. A direct link with the past of this industry has been broken, although his, and his grandfather’s, legacy will live on.

And for design students, it will live on in a significant way, as the Ford Motor Company Fund announced today that it will award $1-million in automotive design scholarships during the next 20 years in honor of William Clay Ford.

William Clay Ford with 1956 ContinentalWilliam Clay Ford and the Continental Mark II 

Not only was Mr. Ford the chairman of the design committee at Ford Motor for 32 years, he was manager of the project that gave rise to the Lincoln Continental Mark II, which is widely considered to be one of the more significant cars of the 20th century.

Explaining the decision to create the automotive design scholarship program, Jim Vella, president, Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services, said, “Design was Mr. Ford’s passion, and his creative vision transformed vehicle design at Ford.”

Although details of how students will qualify for the scholarship have yet to be released, it is known that the grant take the form of five $10,000 scholarships annually for the next 20 years.

Here’s hoping that cars as striking as the Lincoln Continental Mark II for the 21st century are created as a result of this important tribute.