Endowed Scholarships--Fred Sanford '62
Shortly after his admission interview with Bill Ambler '45, then director of admission at Haverford, Fred Sanford '62 knew that he wanted to come to Haverford as a freshman in the fall of 1958. Although he applied to Dickinson and Swarthmore, Haverford was clearly his first choice. "When I visited the campus as a high school student, I loved everything about the place," Fred recalls. He was thrilled when he received his acceptance letter.
Throughout his four student years at Haverford, Fred met many remarkable faculty members and fellow students. He majored in chemistry and later would go on to medical school at the University of Pennsylvania. At Haverford, he was especially impressed with chemistry professor Russell Williams, who was a well-known radiation chemist and co-author of the widely used textbook, Principles of Physical Chemistry. It was Colin MacKay, emeritus chemistry professor at Haverford, who reported that Williams was responsible for interesting him in the study of chemistry. Other influential faculty important to Fred included Bill Reese, Charles Luddinton, Cletus Oakley, John Cary, and Aaron Lemonick. "Without a doubt," Fred reflects, "I learned to think and analyze when I was a Haverford student. Simply put, Haverford was the best educational experience in my life."
In addition to a challenging academic environment, Fred learned about the importance of service to the community while he was a Haverford student. "There was something special about the place that fostered the idea of giving something back," Fred remembers. "Haverford taught me the importance of fairness, and that has significantly helped me in my later life."
Following Haverford, Fred received his medical degree, in 1966, from the University of Pennsylvania. He served as a military physician for over 30 years and became the commanding officer of the Naval Hospitals at Newport, R.I., Long Beach, Calif., and Oakland, Calif. It was during his tenures as a commanding officer that he often used the lessons learned at Haverford of consensus-building as a means to involve others in the decision process. He retired as a two-star rear admiral in 1998. Subsequent to military retirement, he served as the executive director of The Association of Military Surgeons of the United States until his second retirement in 2005.
Fred met his future wife, Mary Jane Sharpless, when both were growing up in Williamsport, Pa. The Sanford family and Sharpless family lived on the same street, and Fred and Mary Jane graduated from Willliamsport High School in 1958 and 1960, respectively. In 1958, Fred went off to Haverford and Mary Jane attended Cedar Crest College (Allentown, Pa.). She visited Fred at Haverford on many occasions, especially between the years of 1960 and 1962. She quickly learned about student life at Haverford and developed a strong fondness for the College. She knew of the special friendship that Fred had developed with many of his senior year classmates including Charlie Robinson, Chip Klinger, Mike Rodell, and Gary Holtzman. Mike's father, Fred Rodell, a prominent law professor at Yale, was the Commencement speaker in 1962. The prior year (1961), historian Arnold Toynbee was the Commencement speaker. Fred Sanford recalls that most of Rodell's Commencement address was delivered in verse.
Following Mary Jane's death in 2002, Fred decided that a fitting memorial to honor his wife would be a named scholarship fund at Haverford. Haverford's history of service and volunteering fit perfectly with the life and aspirations of Mary Jane. Her life was filled with volunteering for a variety of worthwhile organizations, including the Red Cross, the Scripps Clinic in La Jolla, Calif., as well as numerous military spouse organizations while Fred was on active duty. This, combined with her fondness for Haverford, made The Mary Sharpless Sanford Scholarship Fund a perfect tribute, Fred concludes. The scholarship provides financial aid for students with superior drive and potential from economically disadvantaged families.
Fred decided to fund this scholarship through an outright gift in the form of the cash value from three life insurance policies. He remarked that the life insurance was an excellent asset to use because it established the scholarship fund immediately without interfering with his current cash flow. In addition, it provided a charitable tax deduction. Previously, Fred had set up a gift annuity at the College. The annuity will provide lifetime income payments to him, and the principal will be added to the scholarship following his death. Since he established the scholarship, Fred has added to it with several cash gifts. The first scholarship was awarded last year to Iris Mejia, acurrent senior from New York City.
"I was so pleased that Iris received The Mary Sharpless Sanford Scholarship last year," Fred says. "I enjoyed meeting her on campus last fall and learning about her life. She is a wonderful young person who embodies many of the special qualities of Mary Jane."
Establishing a scholarship fund can be a fitting way to honor a family member. It not only serves as a lasting and living memorial but also provides essential financial aid for a current student. Through the efforts of the College, scholarship donors meet the scholarship recipients at the annual scholarship luncheon held on campus. Fred encourages alumni and friends to consider establishing a scholarship fund. "This has been an immensely satisfying experience for me," he says. "I am pleased to be part of the current Haverford family."