Posted on Monday, April 20, 2009
Gift will be used to create the ‘Caird Center for Sports and Recreation'
In a remarkable display of dedication to Hobart and William Smith Colleges, James F. '56 and Cynthia L. Caird have committed an additional $4.4 million to Campaign for the Colleges, bringing their total contribution to the Campaign to well over $8 million.
"This is a tremendous gift, one that demonstrates the Cairds' love of the Colleges and their confidence in its future," says President Mark D. Gearan. "In recognizing the Colleges in this significant way, they provide opportunities for our students, faculty and staff for generations to come."
In 2007, the Cairds gave $3.7 million to HWS, propelling Campaign for the Colleges past the $100 million mark. In honor of their generosity, the Colleges named Caird Hall, a state-of-the-art residence hall. Their 2009 gift similarly pushes the Campaign over a milestone, this time over $150 million. This gift will be used to create the ‘Caird Center for Sports and Recreation.'
"Cindy and I are in the unique position of being able to make a tangible difference," says Jim Caird. "Our hope is that others will see what we are doing and will in turn give back to Hobart and William Smith so the Colleges can continue to have an impact on the lives of young men and women."
"With all that's going on with the economy and the blatant greed so many have shown, the lessons learned at Hobart and William Smith - on and off the field - are especially meaningful," says Cindy Caird. "The Colleges teach not only the basics of learning, they teach humility and ethics. We have hope for the new generation who will be our leaders in a few short years."
The ‘Caird Center for Sports and Recreation' unites several keystone elements of the Colleges' remaining athletics campaign priorities, including Boswell Field, the Froelich Gatehouse and the Elliott Varsity House expansion. The Caird Center will provide boundary definition for the western-edge of campus and carve out space dedicated to athletics and recreation that extends beyond any one building. The project provides broad-reaching support that directly benefits all students who participate in intramural, club sports, outdoor and other wellness programs, in addition to nearly two-thirds of our varsity athletes, including the lacrosse, squash, tennis and football teams.
"I have always been impressed by the Colleges' interdisciplinary education that emphasizes study abroad, community service, leadership, athletics and wellness," says Cindy Caird. "HWS students, like my husband Jim, emerge from these experiences with the ability to sift through complex information and make decisions based on the greater good. This is invaluable when they go into fields like law, politics or medicine, or when they head up corporations."
In 2008, the Cairds were presented with dual President's Medals by Gearan in recognition of their contributions to the Colleges and their unwavering support of education. The Cairds have been generous supporters of HWS and Albany Academy, Jim Caird's secondary school.
"The core of Hobart and William Smith's mission is to foster an appreciation for lifelong learning and discovery," said Gearan at the medal presentation. "It is fitting, then, that we salute individuals whose personal and professional lives embody the values we aspire for our students as we prepare them for leadership."
Born in Troy, N.Y., Jim Caird graduated from Albany Academy, where he played varsity basketball and baseball. At Hobart College, he played baseball, though he is quick to say, "Not well!" Caird also was active in his fraternity, Kappa Sigma, and participated in the ROTC program before serving in the Army. He was president and founder of Auto Insurance Specialists, Inc., which became the world's largest privately owned personal lines insurance agency.
Cindy Caird has traveled the world extensively in the airline industry and worked as a fundraiser and special events planner for the USO. Her work has brought her a unique perspective on the power of global awareness and the need to educate students to be 21st century citizens who have an understanding of different peoples and cultures.
They have also established the James F. '56 and Cynthia L. Caird Endowed Scholarship Fund to support an academically qualified and financially deserving student from the Capital Region of Albany, N.Y., with preference given to an Albany Academy graduate.
"Jim and Cindy have had an incredible impact on Hobart and William Smith," says Chair of the HWS Board of Trustees David H. Deming '75. "For everything they have done for Hobart and William Smith and for every accomplishment a student has as a result of their generosity, we are grateful."