The T.T. Wentworth Jr. Historical Foundation has given Pensacola State College a parting gift of $100,000 to establish an endowed chair in American history, the foundation’s final act before dissolving this week.
The Mr. and Mrs. T.T. Wentworth Jr. Endowed Chair in American History will honor both Rosabel and Theodore Thomas “Tom” Wentworth Jr. for their dedication in preserving and celebrating the history of Northwest Florida and the State of Florida.
“For decades, the name T.T. Wentworth Jr. has been synonymous with history and learning for students of all ages,” said PSC President Ed Meadows. “We are honored to be part of the legacy of Tom and Rosabel Wentworth, and we look forward to continuing their zest for exploring our past through this very generous endowed chair.”
Often referred to as “Mr. History,” Wentworth Jr. was a Pensacola entrepreneur, collector, politician, educator, preservationist, community promoter, and realtor. His collection of artifacts and miscellanea was organized as the T.T. Wentworth Jr. Florida State Museum in 1988, a year before his death in 1989 at age 90.
“Mr. Tom Wentworth loved preserving the history of West Florida, and he loved sharing his collection of historical artifacts with children and young people,” said Sharon Yancey, final president of the T.T. Wentworth Jr. Historical Foundation. “As his foundation board began to realize its purpose had been achieved, we wanted a fitting way to celebrate this amazing legacy and historian.”
The T.T. Wentworth Jr. Historical Foundation had been in existence for more than 50 years. Dr. Jane Wentworth, daughter of Tom and Rosabel, said the foundation has been providing funds since the mid-1960s to help preserve the history of Northwest Florida and to assist in educating young people and preserving historical artifacts for future generations. After presenting a final check to PSC on Wednesday, the foundation’s board members held a final meeting and dissolved the foundation.
“It is with sadness that we are closing out the foundation, but with joy that the funds will be used by Pensacola State College to educate young people who are interested in history,” said Dr. Wentworth. “We are grateful to the college for establishing an endowed chair in American history in memory of my parents.”
The Wentworth endowed chair is a three-year award that recognizes an outstanding professor/instructor in the PSC History, Languages, and Social Sciences Department and supports projects and professional development that benefit the recipient’s classroom performance and students.
“With this gift of an endowed chair in American history, the work of T.T. Wentworth Jr. will continue for generations yet to be,” Yancey said. “From the early days at the Dorothy Walton House museum, to the museum in Ensley where Mr. Tom welcomed us all with a wooden nickel, to the T.T. Wentworth Jr. Florida State Museum, and now the endowed chair at Pensacola State, his work of educating young people on the power and purpose of history continues.”