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Wofford family endows memorial scholarship to Cardinal Foundation

Gadsden, Ala. – Sherry Wofford lights up when she talks about her husband of 23 years, the late Michael Joe Wofford. He loved music, played a mean air guitar, delighted in his grandchildren, enjoyed high school sports and was partial to the beautiful cardinal.

“Michael was a Godly man with a kind and compassionate spirit, a love of life and a contagious smile,” she said. “I miss him every day.”

On Dec. 23, 2020, Michael died from complications with COVID-19. It was sudden and unexpected, she said, just four days after their wedding anniversary. To memorialize her husband, Sherry has donated $26,000 to Gadsden State Community College’s Cardinal Foundation. The amount of $25,000 is for the endowment while $1,000 will be awarded as a scholarship in the fall.

“This is a joyous occasion, and I wish he were here to enjoy it,” Sherry said. “I think he’d be very proud.”

Sherry Wofford, second from left, presented a $26,000 endowment to Dr. Kathy Murphy, left, president of Gadsden State; Mark Condra, president of the Cardinal Foundation; and Dr. Tera Simmons, executive vice president of Gadsden State.

Michael was a life-long resident of Gadsden having graduated in 1967 from Emma Sansom High School. He worked for over 28 years at Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. before retiring in 2000. He loved children, especially the five children, five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren he and Sherry shared between them. He spent many years as a referee at local basketball and football games in Etowah County.

“He has a strong love for Gadsden and Etowah County,” she said. “He always considered Gadsden his home. Everything about his life was right here in Gadsden.”

It was important to Sherry and her family to memorialize Michael while helping others.

“We wanted to do something for students but I didn’t want to just focus on the city schools or just on the county schools,” she said. “All of the schools in our area filter into Gadsden State so I felt like we could help the most at the College. He went to school at Gadsden State, and I think that he would love that we are able to help.”

The Michael Joe Wofford Memorial Scholarship will be awarded to a full-time student pursuing a credential at Gadsden State. In order to qualify, the student must be an incoming freshman from Etowah County and have at least a 3.0 GPA. Because of his love of music, it is preferred that the student be engaged in music through vocal or instruments; however, the student does not have to major in music. A 250- to 500-word essay titled “The Importance of Music in My Life” should accompany the application.

“We are very grateful for Mrs. Wofford’s willingness to assist students through this endowed scholarship,” said Mark Condra, president of the Cardinal Foundation. “Mr. Wofford’s legacy will continue through the education of students from the community he so deeply loved and cherished.”

Dr. Kathy Murphy, president of Gadsden State, said supporters like the Woffords are very much appreciated.

“Donations to the Cardinal Foundation can make a life-changing impact on the lives of students,” she said. “Thanks to the generosity of those like the Wofford family, the Cardinal Foundation is awarding over $230,000 in scholarships and student aid this year. I am truly grateful to Mrs. Wofford for her kind and giving gesture to Gadsden State.”

For more information on Cardinal Foundation scholarships, visit Deadline to apply for traditional foundation scholarships is March 15.

The Cardinal Foundation is an approved IRS 501 (c)(3) support organization established to raise, manage, distribute and steward private resources to support the mission of Gadsden State. The Foundation is managed and controlled by a board of directors. For more information, visit