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Ford Media Center
Ford Motor Company Fund will award $1 million in automotive design scholarships during the next 20 years to commemorate the late William Clay Ford’s contributions to the design legacy of Ford Motor Company.
Throughout his 57 years as an employee and board member, Mr. Ford was instrumental in setting the company’s design direction, overseeing development of a number of classic vehicles, including the iconic Lincoln Continental Mark II. He served as chairman of the design committee at Ford for 32 years.
“Design was Mr. Ford’s passion, and his creative vision transformed vehicle design at Ford,” said Jim Vella, president, Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services. “We are honoring William Clay Ford’s legacy by encouraging and supporting the next generation of innovative automotive designers through this scholarship.”
The grant will be paid at the rate of $50,000 per year during the next 20 years, awarding five $10,000 scholarships annually to outstanding college sophomores or juniors pursuing a degree in automotive design. Details of the program will be announced in the coming months.
William Clay Ford’s role in design
On July 17, 1952, Mr. Ford was appointed manager of special product operations in charge of a group of engineers and designers engaged in advanced planning of the Lincoln Continental Mark II. The Continental Mark II was the successor to the classic Lincoln Continental developed under the direction of Mr. Ford’s father, Edsel Ford, and introduced in 1939. The Continental Mark II is considered to be among the greatest cars ever built.
Mr. Ford told the Henry Ford Museum he wanted to closely follow the designs of the original Lincoln Continental. That included matching the ratio of window glass to sheet metal, re-creating the intimate feel of the interior controls, as well as mounting the spare tire in an impression in the sheet metal of the trunk, recalling the original Continental’s outside-mounted spare.
“I wanted the spare tire in the back. That was the trademark of a Continental,” Mr. Ford said. “We took most of the basic proportions of that car and tried to keep those same proportions in the Mark II, and I think we did pretty well at it.”
When the design committee of the company’s policy and strategy committee was formed in 1957, Mr. Ford became its first chairman, a post he held until he retired from Ford Motor Company in 1989. Mr. Ford was appointed vice president, product design, in 1973.
In addition, he received an honorary doctor of science degree from the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, Calif., in 1981.
More information on Mr. Ford and his legacy can be found here.
Ford Fund support of art and design
Ford Motor Company Fund is an established supporter of the arts, as well as design and arts education. Longtime partnerships include the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibits (Washington, D.C.), Detroit Institute of Arts, College for Creative Studies (Detroit) and Art Center College of Design (Pasadena). At the high school level, Ford Fund is a founding sponsor of Henry Ford Academy (Dearborn), Henry Ford Academy: Alameda School for Art and Design (San Antonio) and Henry Ford Academy: School for Creative Studies (Detroit).
Ford Motor Company (NYSE: F) is a global company based in Dearborn, Michigan, committed to helping build a better world, where every person is free to move and pursue their dreams. The company’s Ford+ plan for growth and value creation combines existing strengths, new capabilities and always-on relationships with customers to enrich experiences for customers and deepen their loyalty. Ford develops and delivers innovative, must-have Ford trucks, sport utility vehicles, commercial vans and cars and Lincoln luxury vehicles, along with connected services. The company does that through three customer-centered business segments: Ford Blue, engineering iconic gas-powered and hybrid vehicles; Ford Model e, inventing breakthrough EVs along with embedded software that defines exceptional digital experiences for all customers; and Ford Pro, helping commercial customers transform and expand their businesses with vehicles and services tailored to their needs. Additionally, Ford is pursuing mobility solutions through Ford Next, and provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. Ford employs about 177,000 people worldwide. More information about the company and its products and services is available at corporate.ford.com.