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The Scandling Legacy at the University of Rochester

The Scandling Legacy at the University of Rochester

William F. Scandling, a dedicated and generous friend of the University of Rochester, passed away Monday, August 22, 2005, in Montreal, Quebec, at the age of 83. The Warner School of Education and Human Development was named in 1993 to honor the memory and legacy of Bill's late wife, Margaret Warner Scandling.

"For those of us who had the good fortune to work with Bill and come to know him, this is a deeply personal loss," reflects Raffaella Borasi, dean of the Warner School. "He was an extraordinary man whose gentle guidance and thoughtful investments helped to inspire us, to empower us, and to give shape to this School. Bill's giving was about people - both honoring those he loved, and investing in those he believed had the power to make the world a better place. He will be sadly missed."

"There is no doubt that Bill's generosity had a transformative impact on the School and its ability to serve the Rochester education community," says University president Joel Seligman. "His legacy to the University of Rochester is a thriving and deeply relevant School of Education. His legacy to the Rochester community is improved schools and generations of educators who have the compassion, conviction, and skills to be leaders and agents of change."

A graduate of Fairport High School, Mr. Scandling attended Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, N.Y. after serving in World War II. In his senior year of college, Mr. Scandling and two of his classmates took over the bankrupt Hobart cafeteria, which had closed. With creativity, determination, and hard work, these young entrepreneurs grew the business and established the Saga Corporation as one of the nation's premier food service companies. Saga was widely recognized in the business community for its ethical and innovative management. Mr. Scandling chronicled the growth of the company, his management philosophy, and its purchase by the Marriott Corporation in 1986 in his 1994 book, The Saga of Saga: The Life and Death of an American Dream.

The Warner School's chief benefactor and champion, Mr. Scandling made gifts over the years totaling more than $14 million. "The creativity of his giving - through a combination of restricted and unrestricted funds, current use and endowed funds, and challenge grants and seed money - was a model for responsible and effective philanthropy," said Laura Brophy, the Warner School's director of Development and Communications. Providing a healthy mixture of structure and flexibility, the gifts have enabled the School to fulfill its mission and improve schools and the lives of individuals in this community and beyond.

"Education is key to the success of individuals and to the future strength of this country," said William Scandling in the early 90s. With his late wife, Margaret, Mr. Scandling shared a deep concern about the future of education in this country.

Before Mrs. Scandling's death in 1990, the couple made several generous gifts to the Education School, among them an endowment that would create a professorship in the name of Margaret's aunt, Frederica Warner, and gifts to establish scholarships.

In 1993, Mr. Scandling honored the memory of his late wife by making a multimillion-dollar gift that strengthened the research programs of the school, increased the school's ability to give scholarship support to the nation's most promising doctoral students in education, and established professorships to support nationally recognized senior faculty.

"Margaret and I had always worked together as a team on important decisions. She was very bright, had great determination and an excellent sense of humor, and she made our life together as successful as it was," Scandling said. "After she died, I wanted to continue doing things that were important to her, and supporting the school was one of them. I thought it would be a fitting way to remember her."

In his remarks at the 1993 naming ceremony for the Warner School, Mr. Scandling shared his thoughts on the nature of education. "There is no question in my mind today that an education is one of the greatest gifts that can be bestowed upon an individual: It enriches his or her quality of life. It deepens that person's intellectual and spiritual awareness, and widens his or her sense of what life can hold. And today, more than ever, it improves a person's chance of finding work that will be fulfilling and that will enable him or her to be economically independent and support a family."

Mr. Scandling continued over the last decade to honor Margaret and invest in the future of education through his generous support and thoughtful friendship and counsel to the Warner School's deans. In 1995, he married his dear friend Yvette Farquharson-Oliver. Together, they shared a commitment to improving education and enjoyed seeing the tremendous progress of the School, including the establishment in 2001 of the Warner Center for Professional Development and Education Reform, which gave the School a solid vehicle to support and engage in community-based school reform.

The legacy of involvement on the part of the Scandling Family continues through son Michael Scandling, who serves on the Warner School's Dean's Advisory Committee. In addition to wife Yvette and son Michael, Mr. Scandling is survived by daughter-in-law Kathy Scandling.

Mr. Scandling leaves his mark on many other institutions of higher education. In addition to Hobart and William Smith Colleges, on whose board he served on for more than twenty years, including eleven as chair, Mr. Scandling has been a major contributor to Johns Hopkins University, Deep Springs College, the Salk Institute, and Northern Arizona University, in addition to many community-based organizations and causes.