Charles and Helen Ford

Charles and Helen Ford have dedicated their lives to family and education, living out the core values central to Lewis University. In recognition of their devotion to education nd to Lewis, Charles and Helen continue building a scholarship named in their honor at the University. The Charles and Helen Ford Scholarship Fund enables scholarships for students seeking a degree in Criminal/Social Justice.

“As a gift for our 50th wedding anniversary, my staff and our friends instituted the scholarship fund. Their gesture was the perfect gift and recognized something Helen and I cherish – education,” says Charles.

After serving in the Navy from 1952 until 1955, Charles turned his focus to the next stage in their lives and enrolled at Lewis University, where he completed two degrees. Keeping Lewis a part of the family traditions, two of their children attended Lewis as well; Jason earned his master’s degree and Brian earned his bachelor’s degree at the University. Both followed in their father’s footsteps by developing careers in law enforcement.

“After four years in the Navy, I needed a new direction so I looked to the Chicago Police Department,” says Charles. “Once there, I worked in many different facets, including patrolman, sergeant, lieutenant, captain, instructor at the Police Training Academy, Director/Commander of the preventative programs, Chief of Organized Crime and First Deputy Superintendent. What a privilege it was to run the second largest police department in the nation!”

He also graduated from the FBI National Academy, the National Crime Prevention Institute at the University of Louisville, and the Harvard University Senior Management Institute – Police Executive Research Forum. He holds Illinois Teacher Certification in Police Science.

“Helen and I have been married for 59 years. We have six children, 14 grandchildren and one greatgrandson. Helen is the stronghold behind our family. She kept everything going while I pursued my career. She raised our kids and filledin when I couldn’t be there, including a stint as a little league manager. She has done a phenomenal job as wife and mother, teaching our children about love, respect and integrity,” explains Charles.

As part of the Lewis family, Charles provided leadership to the Criminal/Social Justice department as Chair and Director of the Graduate Program from 1993-2000. He served as an adjunct instructor since 1987. In 1993, he became full-time, earning tenure in 1996 and professor in 1998. In 1989, Professor Emeritus Charles Ford was awarded the Distinguished Alumnus Award and received the Brother Louis Seiler Ministry of Teaching award in 2000. Active in several professional and community organizations, Charles has been the recipient of many awards for his outstanding achievements and contributions to both law enforcement and his community.

His time at Lewis as both a student and a professor provided him a unique view of the struggles some students go through to complete their degrees, he explained. He also understands the risk the community takes in losing potential future leaders because of financial struggles, which is why he and Helen are honored to be able to offer a scholarship – and a brighter future – for students in the Criminal/Social Justice program.

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