Marjorie F. Marugg-Wolfe, Ed.D.

(1933-2013)

Born December 16, 1933, in Roswell, New Mexico, to Adley Grady Ford and Annie Lee (Thrasher) Ford, Marjorie was the sixth of nine children. In 1936, the family moved to Benton County where Marjorie graduated as valedictorian from Rogers Public Schools in 1951. She earned bachelor’s, educational specialist’s, and doctor of education degrees from the University of Arkansas and a master’s degree from the University of Maryland. Marjorie married Alfred F. Marugg in 1958 and had two daughters, Mikki and Tami. After Al’s death, Marjorie remarried in 1992 to Rogers ‘51 classmate John R. Wolfe.

As a career counselor in 1983, Marjorie saw numerous single parents struggling to find jobs. Without skills, these single parent families faced bleak futures and, worse, their children were likely to continue in the same cycle of poverty. Determined to give single parents an alternative and a chance, Marjorie eagerly joined forces with Ralph Nesson who shared her passion to change the future for single parents through education.

Unique in its holistic approach to change, Marjorie and the Benton County Advisory Committee had the foresight to know change takes more than just a scholarship to help break the cycle of poverty for single parents. They designed a program to remove barriers to education, offering supportive services as well as financial assistance to single parents in post-secondary education.

The scholarship program proved to be successful and has since spread to include 62 affiliates serving all 75 Arkansas counties. At a time of life when most people would have retired, Marjorie eagerly accepted an opportunity to help take the SPSFBC model to the national level by becoming a founding board member of ASPIRE, Assisting Single Parents in Realizing Education. The organizations Marjorie helped found have awarded over 33,000 scholarships to single mothers and fathers, totaling over $18.5 million.

Her advocacy for single parents was recognized by President George W. Bush at the White House in 2002, when she received the President’s Community Volunteer Award from the Point of Light Foundation. In 2005, she received the Community Service Award from the State Department of Human Services and the Governor’s office. In 2012, the University of Arkansas College of Education and Health Professions recognized her as Outstanding Alumna in Education.

Marjorie Marugg-Wolfe was a true pioneer in education. A passionate teacher, she never tired of trying to help others through education. She was vivacious and dedicated. Her legacy will live on in the lives she has changed and the lives she will continue to change through an idea that turned into something much bigger, the Single Parent Scholarship Fund.

 

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