Westmont Magazine Partners for Life
A committed couple since high school, Arol ’75 and Jane Paradise ’75 Wolford are partners in marriage, business, parenting, volunteer work, and a book project. They share a passion for architecture and a desire to serve God by serving others.
Although Arol majored in biology at Westmont and Jane earned a teaching credential and a degree in English, they started a business after graduating.
“We wanted to work together,” Arol explains. “So we took my father’s concept and set up a company that gathers information from blueprints and makes it readily available to the various construction people who need it.”
They also wanted to work with their closest friends and invited nine couples to open branches in different cities throughout the United States. Over the years, the business has expanded to provide a variety of market data for the construction industry and employs 1,600 people. Seven of the original nine couples remain involved.
“Our liberal arts education at Westmont taught us how to learn and how to adapt to changing times,” Arol notes. “For example, we have now put the business online.”
Jane worked less after their two daughters were born so she could focus her attention on them. When the youngest started to drive, Jane suddenly had more time.
Years of interviewing architects had deepened her interest in their field. As her daughters approached college age, Jane went back to school herself and earned a master’s degree in architectural history at Georgia Tech and is now enrolled in a doctoral program. Meanwhile, both her daughters graduate this year: the older from Vanderbilt University and the younger from high school.
Much to her surprise, Jane discovered that the dean at Georgia Tech’s architectural school is a Westmont alumnus. Tom Galloway ’63 earned a Ph.D. in urban design and presides over one of the top architectural schools in the nation.
For her dissertation, Jane intends to expand her master’s thesis on one of the most influential architects of the 20th century, John Carl Warnecke. He designed President Kennedy’s grave, the capitol in Hawaii, and buildings on campuses such as Stanford University before he was 40 years old. Bucking the trend of modern architecture, he emphasizes historical context and preserves existing structures whenever possible. Jane and Arol have become acquainted with him and intend to publish a book about him after the dissertation is done.
“The Ph.D. program has been a clear lesson in God’s faithfulness,” Jane says. “I didn’t think I could do it and asked for help every day, and he responded in a very tangible way.”
Jane and Arol, who look for ways to work together, plan to collaborate on a series of books about great architects. They will both do research, while Arol will conduct interviews and Jane will do the writing.
Through their business-related travels, the Wolfords fell in love with the South and settled in Atlanta, Ga. They live in an urban area that is making a comeback and love being close to the heart of the city.
Arol and Jane work with a ministry that builds low-income homes. “It’s great to do something tangible,” he says. “Mother Theresa is one of my heroes, and she said that the true fruit of love is service. We express our love in service, even in the business world. Serving one another is the important thing.”