Bulletin News

College Council Honors Spauldings for Service


Service to SUNY Cortland through membership on the Cortland College Foundation Board of Directors passed from father to son in the case of Harwood Spaulding and his son, Charles H. Spaulding.

Over roughly 40 years, SUNY Cortland has benefitted greatly from the arrangement. Together the Spauldings have provided local knowledge, support and remarkable continuity of mission to help grow the College endowment from its modest origins to more than $40 million.

The pair were recognized on Oct. 5 as SUNY Cortland’s 2017 College-Community Appreciation Award recipients. Both were present to be honored during a dinner event in the College’s Corey Union Function Room.

John Halstead, sixth president emeritus of SUNY Brockport, offered remarks with SUNY Cortland President Erik J. Bitterbaum during the evening’s celebration. Notably Halstead is the son of the man who appointed Harwood Spaulding to the foundation board in 1967, William E. Halstead, who was then board president.

Thomas Gallagher, chair of SUNY Cortland’s College Council, gave a welcome and co-presented the award with Bitterbaum.

Harwood Spaulding, a University of Rochester graduate, was part owner of the former Peck’s Furniture in Cortlandville, N.Y. Spaulding presided over the foundation from 1978 until 1982, during a time when the organization was geared to financing residence halls and its board was largely composed of local corporate leaders. He offered a gentle but solid voice of authority.

Spaulding’s leadership was again called upon in the early 1990s, when then-College President James M. Clark created an ad-hoc committee to review the board’s mission and composition. Spaulding embraced the committee’s recommendation to replace many community members with alumni and to redirect the foundation toward a more traditional fundraising role in the face of declining levels of New York state support for public higher education. That the transition — involving the voluntary exit of many community members from the board — took place so smoothly is credited in large part to Spaulding’s leadership, wisdom and diplomacy. He also recruited many current board members, several who were key to the fundraising success of the foundation, including his son. Harwood Spaulding was honored with a certificate of appreciation in 2004.

Charles Spaulding, who is chair of Bailey Place Insurance, has been described much like his father, a reasonable person who has been very generous to the College over the years with time, talent and treasure: always well-prepared and thorough. Charles joined the foundation board in 1993 and served as treasurer from 2004 to 2008. His solid business finance perspective has offered a counterweight to more conventional and higher risk financial industry viewpoints. A graduate of Union College with a B.A. in economics, Charles earned a law degree from Syracuse University.

It’s safe to say father and son have been equally tied to serving the local community. Harwood advised the Cortland Savings Bank during its merger with First Niagara Bank and Charles served a similar role when Alliance Bank merged with MBT Bank. Both also volunteered on the Cortland Regional Medical Center Foundation Board as well as numerous civic, religious and business organizations. Charles received a Distinguished Service Award from the Cortland County Junior Chamber of Commerce. He served as director and treasurer of the J.M. Murray Center and board director of the Cortland YMCA.

Now retired, Harwood Spaulding lives in Charlottesville, Va. Charles lives in Cortland, N.Y., and will retire later this year.

The College-Community Appreciation Award is sponsored by the College Council. It was created in 1985 as a means of thanking persons who have assisted SUNY Cortland in a significant manner. Harwood Spaulding is the 36th and Charles Spaulding is the 37th citizen to receive the honor