Sarah La Fetra Ludwick ’65: Three Generations of Philanthropy
While a student at Scripps, Sarah La Fetra Ludwick planned a career teaching children. But she struggled academically, and part of her was homesick. Her family was in Glendora, 12 miles away, and she found herself missing them and the San Gabriel Valley, where she loved volunteering.
Still, several professors created indelible memories. Among them, Molly Mason Jones—Scripps’ second tenured female psychology instructor—impressed upon Ludwick the value of learning: “I remember turning in a paper,” Ludwick says. “I was really distraught over it. It was about my personal education goals, and when I told her it wasn’t finished yet, she said, ‘Well, I would hope it will never be.’ That really stayed with me.”
She goes on: “I credit Scripps with giving me the sense that if you’re given the gift of learning, you keep on doing so.”
In Ludwick’s case, this passion for learning was to complement her life’s work. With a degree in psychology, she graduated, married, and returned to Glendora to become a full-time mother, exemplifying selfless service to her three children. “The first thing I did out of Scripps was cold-call a local organization to volunteer,” Ludwick remembers. “I lived here, my father was born here; I was part of a family that believed in giving back.”
In time, her roster of volunteer opportunities grew: PTA, Meals on Wheels, YWCA, career counseling, helping after-stroke survivors: Ludwick gave of herself every spare moment, enacting positive and lasting influence on the social and physical fabric of Glendora and the surrounding community.
In the 1980s, she and her husband, Arthur “Art” Ludwick, helped create a summer concert series; in 1990, they founded the Ludwick Family Foundation, whose recipients range from environmental groups and Boys and Girls Clubs to the Humane Society, Red Cross, and Girl Scouts in the region. She and Art launched the foundation as a learning tool for the family, she says, to teach their children about strategies of charitable giving. In 2007, the two were honored with the creation of the Arthur and Sarah Ludwick Emergency Care Pavilion, a capital project that doubled the size of Foothill Presbyterian Hospital’s emergency room.
For Ludwick, the emotional, physical, and developmental advancement of children remains a favored cause. In 1992, she returned to school, earning her master’s in child development from the University of La Verne, where she still helps raise some $150,000 annually for its partnership Fairplex Child Development Center.
In 2010, the California State University Board of Trustees and California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, bestowed upon Ludwick an honorary degree: Doctor of Humane Letters. “My professional career has been about volunteerism, and it’s meant taking on roles that some might ask, ‘What does she know about that?’” she says. “And sometimes the truth was: nothing. But I was willing to take it upon myself to learn in order to participate in a valuable way.”
In 2013, the Ludwick Foundation donated more than $1 million to 15 charities worldwide; education remains a priority. Its co-founder says her appetite for knowledge came, in part, from her time at the College. “Scripps gave me a sense of how vast knowledge really is and how exponentially it’s expanding,” she says, pausing a moment before clarifying: “Scripps allowed me to set myself apart. Not to have to be like everybody else, just be comfortable being me. Scripps helped me discover that. At 72, my reward has been my continued understanding that I still have an immense amount to give to society.”
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