University of Rochester

William Scandling, University of Rochester Benefactor, Dies

August 29, 2005

William F. Scandling, a dedicated and generous friend of the University of Rochester, died Aug. 22 in Montreal, Quebec, at the age of 83. The University's Margaret Warner Graduate School of Education and Human Development was named in 1993 to honor the memory and legacy of his 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," said 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 peopleóboth 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," remarked 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 Brighton High School, Mr. Scandling attended Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, N.Y., and graduated in 1949, 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.

Mr. Scandling made gifts over the years totaling more than $14 million to the Warner School. His legacy of involvement continues through his son, Michael Scandling, who serves on the school's Dean's Advisory Committee.

In addition to Hobart and William Smith Colleges, on whose board he served for 20 years, including 11 as chair, Mr. Scandling has been a major contributor to Johns Hopkins University, Deep Springs College, the Salk Institute, and Northern Arizona University as well as many community-based organizations and causes.

Besides Yvette Farquharson-Oliver, Mr. Scandling's wife, and his son Michael, Mr. Scandling is survived by daughter-in-law Kathy Scandling and nephew John Scandling. A memorial service will be held later near Mr. Scandling's California home. A tribute to him is posted at