In front of a jubilant crowd of alumni, alumnae, faculty, staff and students, Caird Hall, one of the newest residence halls on the campus of Hobart and William Smith Colleges, was dedicated in a ceremony on Emerson Hill on Friday, June 1, during the Colleges’ 2007 Reunion festivities.
The ribbon cutting honored the generosity and many years of support of James F. Caird ’56 and his wife, Cynthia L. Caird of Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Their recent donation of $3.7 million was instrumental in propelling Campaign for the Colleges past the $100 million mark.
President Mark D. Gearan thanked the Cairds for their generosity, good humor and commitment to the Colleges. “This day is an important one for us. It completes a vision that our students, faculty and staff have had about residential education, a vision that focuses on building a sense of community.
Gearan was joined at the podium by Board of Trustees Vice Chair Maureen Collins Zupan’72, P’09 and Dean of William Smith College Debra DeMeis, who noted that although construction was finished in 2005, the building was not truly complete until it was named.
Lou Guard ’07, who represented the student body during the ceremony, told the Cairds: “It is with the utmost sincerity that I say your generosity has made HWS a much more special place to learn and grow.
Cynthia Caird, who spoke on behalf of the couple, said their gift was made to benefit the students by maintaining the Colleges’ intimate setting. “It is our desire to help Hobart and William Smith provide the same high quality education to its students that Jim received.
Several friends and members of the Caird family were on hand for the festivities including Jim’s sister Didi Woerner and niece Carrie Woerner, both of Saratoga Springs, N.Y.; his son, Peter Caird of Santa Clarita, Calif.; and several friends from Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.
An American history major while at Hobart, Caird was a member of Canterbury Club, the baseball team, Kappa Sigma fraternity and Reserve Officer Training Corps. He served in the Army for two years after graduation.
An innovator in the marketing of personal lines auto insurance, Caird founded Auto Insurance Specialists Inc. in 1968 in Manhattan Beach, Calif. He built the agency from a one-man office to the world’s largest privately owned personal lines insurance agency. When Caird sold the business in 1999 to Aon Corporation, AIS had 22 offices and 700 employees throughout California.
Caird Hall’s twin residence, de Cordova Hall, was dedicated during Reunion 2006 in recognition of the outstanding service and philanthropy of Arthur de Cordova ’56. According to The Herald, the Hobart and William Smith student newspaper, Caird and de Cordova Halls are, “the most sought after residences on campus…. The 174-bed facilities feature individual room temperature controls, social spaces located off the central stairwells, and an exercise facility on the first floor of Caird Hall, which includes both aerobic and strength training equipment for use at any time. There is also a cafe featuring Starbucks products in the lobby of de Cordova Hall.
Campaign for the Colleges seeks to raise $160 million to increase the endowment and support a variety of campus enhancements. As of June 1, the drive had raised $107 million in pledges and gifts.
A story about the ceremony was included in the Sunday, June 3 edition of the Finger Lakes Times. Read HWS hall named for alum.