Alexander "Sandy" McAfee's monetary support of
Finlandia makes a tremendous difference in the lives of Finlandia students, and
Now an emeritus trustee, McAfee served on the
Finlandia University Board of Trustees from 1974 to 2009.
"Scholar-athletes are the people who are going to
run this country," McAfee predicts. "The more we can support athletics and help
Finlandia build its athletics programs, the better Finlandia and the
university's student body will be."
McAfee's love of sports goes way back. At Yale
University, where he completed a bachelor's degree in 1950, he played on the
football and rugby teams and enthusiastically pursued the sport of downhill
skiing. In his youth he says "sports meant fun, camaraderie, and 'the glory of
"Contact sports-football, rugby, ice hockey,
basketball-teach you how to protect the guy next to you, and that guy knows how
to protect you," McAfee explains. "You know how to get your hands dirty."
McAfee's first job out of college was as a surveyor
for the Cleveland Cliffs iron mine in Marquette, Mich. Following his U.S.
Marines service in the Korean War, in the early 1950s he returned to Marquette
and Cleveland Cliffs. In 1973 he completed the Advanced Management Program at Harvard
Business School and soon after was appointed Cleveland Cliff's vice president
in charge of raw materials, purchasing, and transportation.
It was through his work at Cleveland Cliffs that
McAfee was introduced to Finlandia and he began his service on the university's
board of trustees.
McAfee left Cleveland Cliffs in 1981 to become
president and CEO of Best Sand, now Fairmount Minerals. In the 1990s, he
retired from Fairmount, becoming chairman of The Garick Corporation.
"I've been very lucky," McAfee says. In
2010 he sold his interest in Garick Corporation, allowing him to even more generously
support his philanthropic interests.
"Finlandia is one of the two
organizations that I support the most," McAfee notes, adding that it's
rewarding to give to organizations where he can make a noticeable impact. The
second is the Cleveland Institute of Music's Rainey Institute, which through
education and participation in the visual and performing arts encourages at-risk
Cleveland-area youth to become leaders and positive role models. He also
supports the Cleveland (Ohio) Philharmonic, among other organizations.
Sandy McAfee is an enduring friend of Finlandia
University. In addition to his major lead gift for McAfee Field, he has invested
in campus infrastructure maintenance projects and Internet technology upgrades,
provided matching "challenge grant" funds to vitalize annual giving, and generously
resourced Finlandia athletics programs, including annual gifts for general
operating expenses and gifts for facilities upgrades and repairs. McAfee was
the largest single donor to the 2006 Houghton County Arena men's and women's
hockey locker room campaign.
Sandy McAfee and
his wife, Marianna, have three children and six grandchildren. They live in
Chagrin Falls, Ohio.