ACTC Scholarship Honors Late Professor | ACTC

ACTC Scholarship Honors Late Professor

A scholarship fund honoring the late John B. Sowards, a speech and communications professor at Ashland Community and Technical College, has been established by two of his former students.

Frank Salisbury, ACTC Director of Advancement, and Dr. Bruce Shaffer, an Ashland dentist, took classes from Sowards in the late 1960s and were members of the Alpha Phi Iota fraternity that Sowards had started at the college.

Sowards was a popular instructor and role model for two generations of students, according to Salisbury. Known to his friends and colleagues as J.B., he spent nearly 40 years in the classroom. After retirement, he continued to teach part time until his death in 1995.

Shortly after arriving at the then Ashland Junior College in 1956, Sowards organized a theatre program. More than 20 theatre productions were given from 1956 to the early 1980s, and the theatre at ACTCs College Drive Campus was named in his honor.

Sowards also established the Alpha Phi Iota fraternity in 1966 to enhance college life and give students an activity that would give them a sense of belonging.

My brother Barry and I forged relationships with fellow Alphas that have resulted in lifelong friendships, Dr Shaffer said. He and his brother also had Sowards in class and performed Shakespeare on stage. Those were wonderful experiences that I will always remember, he said.

Shaffer and Salisbury have established the J. B. Sowards Memorial Scholarship Fund through the Community and Technical College Foundation of Ashland, Inc., the foundation serving ACTC. The fund will provide scholarships to students in need of financial aid.

J. B. had a way of bringing out the best in people, and he worked continuously to help students, Salisbury said. He would want to help students attend college.

For more information on the scholarship, contact Salisbury at 606-326-2092 or email: The Foundation is a 501-C-3 nonprofit foundation eligible for federal tax-exempt gifts.