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Aerial View of the Dowagiac Campus

Ryder scholarship for graphic design

Paul Potter, Jeff Ryder

Her husband and son Feb. 11 created a $5,270 endowment to establish the Polli M. Ryder Memorial Scholarship for Southwestern Michigan College students pursuing Associate in Applied Science degrees in Graphic Design Technology.

Jeff Ryder of Dowagiac, her husband since 1988, worked as a financial aid adviser for SMC from 1990 to 2007.

Her son, Paul Potter of Dowagiac, is carrying on Image Publishing, the business she founded in 1989 — the year he graduated with an SMC associate degree.

Mrs. Ryder had been advertising director for the Dowagiac Daily News and Niles Daily Star for almost 20 years when she decided to go into business for herself, publishing real estate magazines.

As the internet flourished, demand for such publications waned, so she adapted and began publishing placemats and menus for restaurants.

“She was very artistic and great at graphic design,” said Ryder, who remembers Polli taking an SMC course from Bill Rothwell.

Her hobbies testified to her passion for art and design.

She collected antique glass and enjoyed needle work, stained glass, macramé, quilting and antique hunting and belonged to the Dowagiac Dogwood Fine Arts Festival.
Born Feb. 7, 1947, in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, as Polly Holbury, Mrs. Ryder died Dec. 27, 2013. She was 66.

She was active at First United Methodist Church in Dowagiac and was a member of the International Newsmedia Marketing Association (INMA).
“We at SMC are very grateful to Jeff and Paul for establishing this endowment,” President Dr. David M. Mathews said. “A tremendous number of students SMC serves simply would not be able to attend college if not for scholarships established by generous people.”

It takes $2,500 to create an endowment. It is the policy of the Board of Trustees to match donations up to $25,000.

Southwestern Michigan College Foundation accepts contributions to existing scholarships in addition to establishing new scholarships.

Direct endowment donations to: SMC Foundation, Director of Development, 58900 Cherry Grove Road, Dowagiac, MI 49047.
Contact Eileen Toney at (269) 782-1301 or etoney@swmich.edu for more information.