Ruth Gardner Ball Scholarship
“In 1956, a girl from a small town in Oklahoma came to the campus of OCW with a big dream – to be an actress. She declared herself a speech major and was told by an upperclassman that she was to be sure to be assigned to a particular teacher as her ‘private speech’ teacher. When the assignments were made, she found that she had been assigned to another speech teacher. She, or should I say ‘I,’ was greatly disappointed,” says Paulette Pogue, a 1960 OCW graduate, reflecting on Ball.
“I went to my speech class with an ‘attitude.’ I was met by a woman who scared the living daylights out of me – a gray haired woman with a grand manner. I was given the usual assignments and, being perfect, I never bothered to practice. Little did I know that I was like ‘Mr. Cellophane’ and she saw right through me.
“One day after an obviously unprepared and awful performance, that woman said to me, ‘one day, Paulette, you are going to do something good, and I’m going to be the first to let you know.’
“During my sophomore year, I decided to try ‘her theory’ and practice the piece I was to present in my next class. I practiced and practiced and went to class the next day more prepared than ever. I was so frightened when I started to present my assignment that I went blank. I heard my teacher begin to cue me when I lost the words. I finished the presentation – with her help.
“She said, ‘I told you that one day you would do something good and today you did.’ She knew I had worked. What a brilliant lady! Not just a woman, but a genuine lady that I grew to know, love and admire,” Pogue said.
The scholarship is awarded to a sophomore or junior communication major who has a least a 3.0 GPA.
Ball was the chairperson of the speech and drama department at OCW – where she taught from 1923 to 1962. While at the college, she was active as a reader in Oklahoma and surrounding states. For 13 years she opened the Christmas season on the campus with her reading of “The Christmas Carol.”
“As she and Tiny Tim would say, ‘God bless us everyone.’ This one is for you, Miss Ball, God bless you and thank you for helping me become the person I am today,” Pogue said.