The University of Central Arkansas Archives recently acquired the collection of John L. Ward, the Bee Branch resident who was a senior aide to Arkansas Governor Winthrop Rockefeller, was managing editor of the Log Cabin Democrat newspaper in Conway, and who also served as vice president of public affairs at UCA.
According to Jimmy Bryant, director of the UCA Archives, the John Ward collection contains photographs, personal and professional correspondence, items related to interviews, Toad Suck Daze material, books, and memorandums related to UCA. Bryant said the collection would be processed and ready for researchers by the fall of 2009.Ward founded the Institute of Politics and Government in Arkansas. He was the managing editor of the Log Cabin Democrat for 12 years and during that time was instrumental in creating Toad Suck Daze. Ward later served on the faculty of the University of Arkansas, where he taught journalism and became the director of information services for the University of Arkansas System. In 1988, he was named vice president for public affairs at UCA and served in that capacity for eight years. While serving in that position, he also taught journalism and served as president of the UCA Foundation.
Ward also was director of public relations for Winthrop Rockefeller from 1964 to 1971, and was his campaign manager during his successful reelection campaign in 1968. He later was the campaign manager for Winthrop Paul Rockefeller in his successful bid for lieutenant governor of Arkansas in 1996.
Ward has authored two books on Winthrop Rockefeller, The Arkansas Rockefeller, published by Louisiana State University Press in 1978, and Winthrop Rockefeller, Philanthropist: A Life of Change, published by the University of Arkansas Press in 2004. In 2005, John was named a trustee of the Winthrop Rockefeller Charitable Trust.
Ward served on the board of the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation and was chairman for four years. He has also served as chairman of the Winthrop Rockefeller Distinguished Lectures Committee and was a director of The Oxford American, a literary magazine.
Ward received the American Cancer Society’s Special Citation for a series of articles he wrote about laryngectomees. From the Arkansas Press Association he received the “Distinguished Service Award” and the “Man Of the Year” award. He received the “Distinguished Service Award” from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. John was a charter member of the Arkansas Chapter of Sigma Delta Chi, Society of Professional Journalists, and served as its president.