Paying our respects to Harold Alfond

Harold Alfond provided hope and opportunity

Maine philanthropist Harold Alfond died on Nov. 16, 2007, but his presence lives on at Saint Joseph's as someone whose life made a huge difference to our campus. Saint Joseph's named two buildings for him in gratitude for the generosity that made their construction possible, and we will honor those contributions and others he gave to the college at a ceremony this spring.

Harold Alfond

Not only did our students benefit from his gifts, we all benefited from his character and the principles he believed in. Alfond had a great love for helping students and athletes throughout the state, donating millions to higher education, health care and sports - and encouraging partnerships in fundraising that would build on his donations. Alfond left many of his assets to his charitable foundation to ensure that help for young people would continue.

The story goes that when Alfond, who held a tender spot for the Sisters of Mercy, saw the enormous potential of our beautiful location, he encouraged us to maximize that resource. Today, our two Alfond buildings face the lake and the mountains, offering the beautiful views that make our campus unique.

As President Joe Lee stated, "Mr. Alfond's first interest, of course, was in our students, and especially those who are the first in their families to attend college. While we provide them financial aid, it is through Mr. Alfond's generosity that they enjoy first-rate facilities for recreation and learning."

He went on to add, "Every student at Saint Joseph's - both today and forever after - will benefit from Mr. Alfond's generosity and his vision for our College." The entire campus community's appreciation for Alfond's philanthropy is captured in these comments by sociology professor Dr. Katrina Hoop:

"I had never heard of Harold Alfond before I moved to Maine a few years ago, but I soon learned his name and legacy when I began to teach at Saint Joseph's College.

"In the face of arguments that suggest people are less civically engaged, Harold Alfond's generosity should be lauded. Most recently, the Alfond Foundation announced that it would give $500 for a college savings account to every child born in Maine. This kind of giving contributes to the strengthening of communities. It is thoughtful, long-term planning that speaks directly to the kind of compassion he had for the places he cared for. For those of us who live in Maine and witness the impact of economic struggles, Alfond's legacy of supporting communities - from the ground up - is something from which I hope others will draw inspiration."