In Memory: Winifred “Wynee” Warden ’45 ’12H

The philanthropist's generosity impacted generations of Rollins students across virtually every dimension of campus life, from academics and athletics to the arts.

Wynee Warden and Rollins President Emerita Rita Bornstein ’04H ’04HAL at the dedication of the Wynee Martin Warden Costume Studio in 1995. Wynee Warden and Rollins President Emerita Rita Bornstein ’04H ’04HAL at the dedication of the Wynee Martin Warden Costume Studio in 1995.

The portraits of two women hang in the foyer of Rollins’ historic Annie Russell Theatre. One is of the building’s namesake. The other is of Winifred “Wynee” Warden ’45 ’12H, a lifelong supporter of the College who died June 14 at age 94.

Warden’s tremendous impact is felt throughout campus and perhaps nowhere more deeply than the theatre, where she spent time as a performer during her years as a Rollins undergraduate. Her specialty was ballet dance.

Warden was known for her philanthropic dedication to the community through her leadership of the Bert W. Martin Foundation, which was established by her father. Warden’s charitable efforts centered on education and children’s health and included the University of Arizona Cancer Center, Stanford’s Lucie Packard Children’s Hospital, and the Bert Martin Champions for Children Emergency Department and Trauma Center at Arnold Palmer Hospital For Children.

At Rollins, Warden’s generosity impacted generations of Rollins students across virtually every dimension of campus life, from academics and athletics to the arts. Her gifts to the College include the Bert W. Martin Tennis Complex, the Martin Lakeview Patio, the Wynee Martin Warden Costume Studio, the Warden Dining Room in the Cornell Campus Center, and the Warden Arena in the Harold & Ted Alfond Sports Center.

Warden with Rollins President Emeritus Lewis Duncan at the unveiling of a portrait that is now displayed in the Annie Russell Theatre. (Photo by David Noe) Warden with Rollins President Emeritus Lewis Duncan at the unveiling of a portrait that is now displayed in the Annie Russell Theatre. (Photo by David Noe)

In 2000, she established the Winifred M. Warden Chair of Theatre Arts and Dance, which has supported some of the theatre and dance department’s most cherished faculty. A year later, Warden funded a $1.8-million renovation of the Annie Russell Theatre.

“It didn’t take me long to realize that Wynee Warden was the guardian angel of the Rollins theatre and dance department,” says theatre professor Jennifer Cavenaugh, the current Winifred M. Warden Chair of Theatre Arts and Dance. “The costume studio and dance studio bore her name, but Wynee’s generosity went far beyond these buildings. Her gifts allowed us to provide the best possible theatre education in a state-of-the-art facility.”

Warden was elected to Rollins’ Board of Trustees in 2000. Lewis Duncan, Rollins’ 14th president, awarded Warden an honorary doctorate in 2012.

“Through your generosity and that of the Bert W. Martin Foundation, generations of Rollins students are touched by your commitment to ensuring the quality of their Rollins experience,” Duncan wrote in the degree citation. “From academics to athletics, from campus atmosphere to the arts, your mark is on nearly every facet of College life.”

We are inspired by Warden each time we enter the Annie—to give, to learn, and to dance.

Bornstein, theatre professor Joe Nassif, and Warden Bornstein, theatre professor Joe Nassif, and Warden