Dr. Harold Cordts & Ms. Jeanne M. Cordts
Harold Cordts and I seemed an unlikely couple when we met as graduate assistants and doctoral candidates at Syracuse University in the fall of 1955. He had been an army officer during the Korean War, I a college student during World War II, then a high school English and history teacher in upstate New York. He grew up on the broad prairie of eastern South Dakota, I in a green farming valley called Pompey Hollow, 18 miles south of Syracuse. Our programs were much alike, his in physical education, mine in English and reading; we took courses, taught classes, and in varied ways assisted professors in the School of Education. We were both fortunate in having received academic scholarships and other financial aid, support essential to advance our educations. Near the end of our second year, we married and moved to Skytop, military barracks on the south edge of the campus. Thereafter we could really work together intensively to complete our final year.
In the fall of 1958, Harold and I came to Frostburg State Teachers College in the foothills of the Alleghenies in Western Maryland – he to teach, coach and chair the Department of Health, Physical Education and Recreation…I to instruct, part-time, classes in the teaching of reading. Challenged with his new position, with energy and creativity Harold set about building a world-class physical education program. He worked to attract excellent faculty and students. The State of Maryland approved the building of the expansive new physical education center, later named for him. Among his efforts was the establishment of an exciting, far-reaching international exchange program involving both students and faculty. We and other PE faculty travelled world-wide (Mexico, Ireland, England, Germany, Israel, Taiwan, etc.) and one year brought the International Congress for Health, Physical Education and Recreation annual meeting to Frostburg State University.
Concurrently we raised our five children who enjoyed the special advantages of growing up in this college town. Today their widely diverse and successful occupations reflect the many positive influences in their lives. As an extended family we are deeply mindful of the wise, positive and generous support of others, providing education, wide experiences, direction and financial help to make our success possible. Scholarships were key! Many years ago and before Harold’s death in 2004, he and I decided to fund our own scholarship here at Frostburg State University. It is one way for us to show our gratitude for those who supported us. Treasuring our opportunities and education, we wish to carry on the tradition.