The folding of a Pensacola-area historical foundation is providing a lovely parting gift for Pensacola State College.
Just before taking action to dissolve the T.T. Wentworth Jr. Historical Foundation Wednesday afternoon, one of its final acts was to award just over $100,000 to PSC for the creation of The Tom and Rosabel Wentworth Chair in American History.
PSC President Ed Meadows says the name “T.T. Wentworth Jr.” has been synonymous with history and learning for students of all ages.
“Because of the long history we have had with the Wentworths in northwest Florida, and certainly the professors that are here representing the History and Social Sciences Department, they are ecstatic beyond words,” said Meadows.
Tom Wentworth, who died in 1989 at the age of 90, was known as “Mr. History.” He did live to see his collection of artifacts and miscellanea, which he donated to the state of Florida in 1983, go on display five years later at the T.T. Wentworth Jr. Florida State Museum at the former City Hall in downtown Pensacola.
Former Pensacola Mayor Mike Wiggins, who is President of the PSC Foundation, says that besides history the name T.T. Wentworth also stands for collections and museums – and perhaps most of all -- generosity.
“This gift, in my opinion, is going to increase the love of history among our students,” Wiggins said. “And you know, it may even solve some of the problems locally and nationally for generations to come. It’s that important a gift.”
“We are dissolving the board first and foremost because we feel like it has met the reason for which it was incorporated,” said Sharon Yancey, a niece of the Wentworths, – who chairs the T.T. Wentworth Jr. Historical Foundation.
Or at least she did until Wednesday.
““His collection is secured, these educational endowments have been made, and now with the endowed chair to Pensacola State College it’s just the completion of the educational passion that T.T. Wentworth had,”
The endowment to Pensacola State is the last in a long line of giving by the foundation, which stretches back six decades.
“I don’t even know – the sixties I believe, the early sixties,” said Yancey.
The Wentworth Endowed Chair at Pensacola State College is a three-year award recognizing an outstanding professor or instructor in the school’s History, Languages and Social Sciences Department. The money will also support projects and professional development which benefit the recipient’s classroom performance and students.