Skidmore College has created a $10 million initiative in support of its longstanding commitment to a liberal arts experience rooted in creativity that prepares students for thriving professional and personal success.
Officials said a $5 million one-to-one matching pledge along with additional matching gifts created the Sands Family Foundation Initiative for Creativity, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship at Skidmore College.
A century ago, Lucy Skidmore Scribner founded Skidmore College with the vision that it would help students connect the power of their minds and their hands in a new model of liberal education, college officials said. That ambition takes a dramatic step forward with the new initiative, said college President Marc C. Conner.
“This extraordinary gift celebrates what Skidmore has always done—nurture creativity and prepare students for life after graduation—and moves us forward in our ability to offer the very model for a 21st liberal arts education,” Conner said.
“The essence of innovation and entrepreneurship is an eagerness to be bold, take risks, look at tough problems with fresh eyes, and be unafraid to fail—the hallmarks of a great liberal arts education. This gift from the Sands Family Foundation emphasizes the incredible impact that our commitment to developing exceptional creative and critical skills can have on students,” said Conner.
Rob Sands, a Skidmore business major graduate who is executive chairman of the board of directors of Constellation Brands, explained his personal commitment to this gift.
“At Skidmore, I gained the fundamental knowledge to become a successful attorney and businessman along with an invaluable set of life skills,” he said. “The Sands Family Foundation Initiative promises to support and grow these aspects of the education I experienced at Skidmore—exactly the kind of education I believe our world needs. We are so excited to spearhead the expansion of entrepreneurial thinking for all Skidmore students, and my hope is that, through this support, students will use their talents upon graduation to create or grow new ventures from the Capital District to Rochester and beyond.”
Sands Family Foundation member Bill Caleo, a Skidmore business major who went on to attain his master’s degree in theater and is now a member of the college’s board of trustees, stressed the promise of the gift to build on Skidmore’s creative, inclusive, and interdisciplinary education.
“I’m so proud to be able to support my alma mater with this gift,” he said. “I want the world to see that a Skidmore education is truly the best preparation for the 21st century. Our gift is going to provide programmatic support for the kind of entrepreneurial thinking that is a natural and fundamental part of the college. This will literally enable students to learn how to shape their own future.”
College officials said that at Skidmore, entrepreneurship is an ethos and commitment to helping students think and make with the creativity that the global marketplace demands. The college offers existing programs, such as the Entrepreneurial Artist Initiative, the Skidmore-Saratoga Consulting Partnership, and the Kenneth A. Freirich ’90 Entrepreneurship Competition. It offers collaborative spaces for innovative practice, such as the nascent Schupf Family IdeaLab, the newly created Center for Integrated Sciences, and the Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery.
“The Sands Family Foundation Initiative for Creativity, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship will channel support to these programs and to similar initiatives in the coming years, further establishing Skidmore as a model liberal arts college for the skills, experiences, and abilities that will help our students thrive in the 21st century,” Conner said.
Founded in 1903, Skidmore College is a private, coeducational liberal arts college of about 2,500 students.