Skip to main content
tony grove

J.C. Fonnesbeck Scholarship

Alice Fonnesbeck Gardner was born on July 11, 1908, in Logan, Utah, to Jens Christian and Anna Christina Andersen Fonnesbeck, immigrants from Denmark. Alice spoke Danish at home and didn't learn English until she started school at age six.

From first grade to high school, Alice attended Brigham Young College, a training school for Utah State College. She then went to Utah State and graduated in 1931 with a bachelor of science in English. Her family owned the Fonnesbeck Knitting Works where she worked selling knit goods. After her marriage to Alma H. Gardner in 1931, they moved to Portland, Oregon, and became the parents of three daughters. She and Alma were later divorced in 1949.

As a single mother, Alice took a job selling Avon to help support her family. Her personality and skill at selling, plus her personal attractiveness made her a very successful sales representative and she was a member of the President's Club--the top seller--for many years. She sold Avon for 41 years, retiring at age 82. While her children were growing up, Alice served as a 4-H leader, a hospital volunteer, a Primary and PTA worker. She loved to sing and enjoyed teaching songs to little children.

Mrs. Gardner was an avid tennis player and also loved to dance. Alice loved jokes, puns, and good conversation. Her love for reading, as well as words and their origins, made her a sharp Scrabble player and a devoted fan of great literature. She loved quoting Shakespeare and other poets. Mrs. Gardner spoke both Danish and French. Because she valued education, she helped her three daughters through college. She expressed pride that all her grandchildren earned college degrees.

Mrs. Gardner moved back to Logan in 1978 to be near her daughter, Sharon, with whom she became involved in many community art projects. She had a sense of beauty, and worked hard to improve her home and surroundings. Everywhere she lived she planted flowers and created a beautiful home. In 1999 she moved back to Provo where she passed away in 2001 at the age of 93.

Alice Fonnesbeck Gardner endowed three scholarships at Utah State University: a 4-H scholarship, a scholarship for reentry women through the Women's Center, and the J.C. Fonnesbeck Scholarship in English in honor of her father, Jens Christian Fonnesbeck, who had a love of books and great literature. The J.C. Fonnesbeck Scholarship in English is awarded to undergraduate students who demonstrate high academic standards and economic need.