With thunderous applause and pounding feet, more than 4,000 fans gathered at Boswell Field on Saturday night to thank James F. ’56 and Cynthia L. Caird and to dedicate the Caird Center for Sports and Recreation that bears their name.
It was the culmination of a weekend of activities honoring the Cairds that started on Friday night during the annual Emerson Dinner Celebration.
“Tonight we gather in celebration of the most recent project to result from Campaign for the Colleges – The Caird Center for Sports and Recreation,” said President Mark D. Gearan at the Emerson Society Dinner, held in Bristol Field House. “What the Cairds have done at the Colleges is truly transformational. With the addition of the Caird Center for Sports and Recreation, our entire community now has an exceptional athletic facility; a place we can be proud to call home.”
“We believe that at this stage of our lives we have an obligation to reimburse Hobart & William Smith for the effort they make to educate and prepare young students.”
Prior to the dinner, the Cairds received a private tour of the facility, and were able to see firsthand the significant impact of their contribution on Hobart and William Smith Athletics and the campus community.
“Jim and I are more than content to know that our contributions have been used for worthy enhancements – in this Center and in Caird Residence Hall,” said Cynthia Caird on the tour. “The Hobart and William Smith campus has made incredible advances since Jim was here, and we are honored to be a part of that.”
The Cairds also visited the Kappa Sigma fraternity, of which James Caird is a member, and were surprised with another dedication – this time of the newly renovated common room in the house.
“Mr. and Mrs. Caird have shown such generosity to the brotherhood,” said Travis Ferland ’11, addressing the Cairds during the intimate ceremony. “On behalf of all the Kappa Sigma brothers, I thank you for the tremendous opportunities you have given us for better living and athletics on this campus.”
“It’s incredibly emotional to come back to this house after 54 years,” said James Caird, who was accompanied by his fraternity roommate – Louis C. Bush III ’56. “The stories these walls could tell….”
“Jim and I are so honored; this is very touching to both of us,” said Cynthia Caird during the emotional dedication. “This house has taken a turn for the better, and you all should be incredibly proud of yourselves.”
Spectators at Saturday night’s football game against St. John Fisher were also able to witness the generosity of the Cairds during the half-time dedication of the center as the Cairds cut a large, ceremonial purple and green ribbon, officially opening the impressive athletic center.
James Caird was born in Troy, N.Y., and graduated from Hobart in 1956. Caird founded the world’s largest privately owned personal lines insurance agency, Auto Insurance Specialists. Cynthia Caird has traveled the world in the airline industry, and has served the USO has an event planner. In honor of their continued generosity, the Colleges have also named Caird Residence Hall in their honor. Additionally, the Cairds have founded the James F. ’56 and Cynthia Caird Endowed Scholarship Fund, which aids academically qualified and financially deserving students from the Albany, N.Y. area with preference given to Albany Academy students. 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.