Nearly 200 former co-workers, community members, fellow trustees, fraternity brothers and friends gathered with family to share stories about Bill Scandling Sunday morning in the HWS student union that bears his name.
The memories began after the welcome by Mark D. Gearan, president of Hobart and William Smith Colleges: Father John Collins of The Church of St. Paul the Apostle in New York City recalled several outings on The Seneca, Scandling’s yacht; and Paul Zaroogian, a Saga alumnus and general manager of the HWS dining services, spoke of receiving get-well cards and calls from Scandling after Zaroogian’s recent surgery. Garry Knox, another Saga alumnus, reminded the group that Saga had spread beyond the United States borders, and that for him, at least, Scandling’s book could have been about “a Canadian dream.”
Knox also touched on another theme repeated during the morning, the unusual nature of a business built with people at the forefront, and how Saga employees, supervisors and managers often spoke of the feeling of family.
Family memories were also shared by John Scandling, (son of Bill’s West Pointer brother Jack), who said it wasn’t until he was in college that he realized the family had a rich uncle. He spoke of summers at the Canandaigua Lake home of his grandfather and grandmother, who wouldn’t allow their children and grandchildren to play cards — except for money. “It wasn’t by accident that he was treasurer of Saga,” John joked.
The University of Rochester was represented by President Emeritus Robert Sproull, who described Scandling’s style and grace; Theresa Canada, who received a Scandling Scholarship to the U of R’s Margaret Warner Graduate School of Education and Human Development in 1989; and Dean Raffaella Borasi, who described the “living testament of Scandling’s belief in the power to change the world.”
Roy Dexheimer, who served on the HWS board of trustees with Scandling, recalled telling Scandling once that he (Dexheimer, a retired superintendent of schools) held a doctorate in education from the U of R. Scandling’s reply was that “We’ve raised our standards considerably in recent years.”
That lighter side of Scandling’s personality was also described by Charles Haight, vice president of development at Mount Holyoke College, who described returning to The Seneca early one Sunday, with a copy of The New York Times, only to hear Scandling describe any paper without a comics section as “too serious,” and not allowed on his yacht.
Scandling died Aug. 22 after a yacht trip to Montreal. A 1949 graduate of Hobart College, he was one of three undergraduates studying here on the GI bill who co-founded Saga, the dining service that eventually served xx campuses and hospitals before it was bought by Marriott Corp. in xx.
Scandling was chair emeritus of the HWS Board of Trustees for 11 years, and is the most generous donor in the Colleges’ history.
Yvette Scandling, medically unable to travel from California, delivered her greetings by audiotape. Brothers of Kappa Alpha society and this year’s pledges greeted those attending the service at the doors.
Michael Scandling told of the family’s move to California, when he was 11, because his father “never wanted to shovel snow again;” driving along Route 66 in a two-seater sports car, and how honored he was serve as his father’s best man when he and Yvette were married.
Michael Scandling summarized his father’s life by saying, “For Dad, it was all about the future: he fed students.”
And the celebration ended as a six-piece jazz band struck up a Dixieland version of “Just A Closer Walk With Thee.”