Through his visionary leadership and his generous commitment to improving the lives of others, James Caird has made an enduring difference in the future of Hobart and William Smith Colleges.
Born in Troy, N.Y., James Caird graduated from Albany Academy where he played varsity basketball and baseball. At Hobart College, he was a history major, a brother in the Kappa Sigma fraternity, and a member of the Reserve Officer Training Corps. As a graduate student at Columbia University business school and a serviceman in the United States Army, James Caird distinguished himself with his business acumen and his dedication to achieving his professional goals.
The founder and president of Auto Insurance Specialists, James Caird created the world's largest privately owned, personal lines insurance agency, pioneering innovative and specialized marketing techniques that changed the way all businesses identify, cultivate and steward clients. Described by his professional colleagues as a trailblazer and a maverick, James Caird shaped an industry.
Gifted with a keen sense of humor, James Caird's enthusiastic and positive approach to life permeated Auto Insurance Specialists and today, through his support of the Colleges, permeates Hobart and William Smith. With his wife, Cynthia L. Caird, James Caird has made Hobart and William Smith a philanthropic priority, significantly boosting the Colleges' efforts to attract and retain the very best students, faculty and staff. In honor of James Caird's thoughtful generosity, in 2007, the Colleges named Caird Hall, a state-of-the-art residence hall, in honor of James and Cynthia Caird. In 2009, James and Cynthia Caird made it possible to create the Caird Center for Sports and Recreation. The new complex unites several keystone elements of the Colleges' athletic facilities and provides broad-reaching support that directly benefits all students.
In addition to the support of capital projects, James Caird has also funded student scholarships, including the James '56 and Cynthia L. Caird Endowed Scholarship Fund to support students from Albany, N.Y., with preference given to Albany Academy graduates.