SPARTANBURG, S.C. (courtesy wofford.edu) — Wofford College broke ground Oct. 18th on its new Chandler Center for Environmental Studies, named in honor of longtime college supporters J. Harold and Delores Wilson Chandler.
The 20,000-square-foot facility will be Green Globe Certified for its sustainable and environmentally conscious features, such as a partial green roof and solar roof panels. The building will feature advanced laboratory space, a seminar room, outdoor patio and garden spaces, and classroom and office space for Wofford’s Department of Environmental Studiesas well as the other sciences. The building also will include a system for capturing rainwater for irrigation and will use cross-laminated timbers, which are made of sustainable, all-wood construction. Green Globe certification is a structured assessment of the sustainability performance of the facility.
The Chandler Center for Environmental Studies will open in the fall of 2020.
“Today we stand in the heart of campus between the Rosalind Sallenger Richardson Center for the Arts and the Roger Milliken Science Center. It is appropriate that the Chandler name now will stand in perpetuity between these two transformational families – Richardson and Milliken,” Corry Oakes, chairman of the Wofford Board of Trustees, said. “The sacrificial giving represented here to the positive advancement of Wofford College – and to the positive futures of all who shall enter – is unparalleled. The Chandler Center for Environmental Studies will build upon Wofford’s programs in the sciences, social sciences and humanities and will excite student interest and academic thought for decades to come.”
Wofford President Nayef Samhat thanked the Chandlers for being among the largest lifetime contributors to Wofford in both resources and time. “Your legacy of sacrificial giving and your visionary approach to fundraising and scholarships has transformed Wofford College, just as this inspirational building will transform the lives and futures of our students, faculty, community and country in the decades to come.”
“Today, we take a huge step toward fulfillment of the college’s Vision in Action Plan,” Dr. Kaye Savage, professor and chair of the Department of Environmental Studies, said. “It represents a splendid gift to the For Wofford campaign, thanks to the generosity of Delores and Harold Chandler. Here, a year from now, the Chandler Center for Environmental Studies will support interdisciplinary exploration, creative problem solving, community-based learning and our work toward a resilient, flourishing society that respects Earth’s intricate systems.”
Harold Chandler told the gathering: “One of the most significant lessons I learned during my 48 years of work has been the differentiating value environmental stewardship, environmental discipline, a steadfast commitment to preserving our air and water and more – the differentiating value these personal characteristics afford an executive in his or her daily efforts to effectively lead an organization.”
He continued, “I am convinced that fellow associates within an organization continuously evaluate and extrapolate the leader’s care and commitment to the environment to an authentic commitment and care to them individually, to their families, even the ultimate sustainability of the organization for which they have dedicated themselves.”
“This field of study and practice, simply put, is that powerful, that provocative, that important, today and increasingly in our future. Delores and I are so pleased that Wofford College is acting now and, we believe, poised to shape the future even more significantly as a result of this day.”
J. Harold Chandler and his wife, Delores, have been longtime supporters of Wofford College, establishing the J. Harold Chandler 1971 Endowed Scholarship Fund and the Delores Wilson Chandler Endowed Scholarship Fund to support student-athletes. They also funded four additional endowed scholarships to honor their parents and their two children – the Louie and Edna Chandler Endowed Scholarship Fund, the Stanley and Dorothy Wilson Endowed Scholarship Fund, the Jennifer K. Chandler Endowed Scholarship Fund and the Stephanie A. Chandler Endowed Scholarship Fund.
Chandler served on the Wofford College Board of Trustees from 1988 to 2000 and again from 2004 until his retirement from the board in 2016; he served as vice chair from 2009 to 2011 and as chair from 2011 until his retirement. In 1993, he led the task force that helped move Wofford to Division I athletics and in 2005 he led a second task force on enrollment growth, both of which produced recommendations that have had a profound and positive impact on the college. In recognition of his retirement from the board, the board room in the DuPré Administration Building was named in his honor.
During his tenure on the board, Chandler oversaw significant reform of the college’s governance structure and served as an example and mentor to presidents emeriti Dr. Joab M. (Joe) Lesesne and Dr. Benjamin (Bernie) Dunlap. He also oversaw the hiring and first three years of the administration of President Nayef Samhat.
Chandler was the featured speaker at the 2017 Wofford Commencement, where he also received an honorary degree.
A native of Belton, S.C., and a graduate of Belton-Honea Path High School, Chandler was an outstanding student-athlete at Wofford, leading the Terrier football team as quarterback and captain, and he was named most valuable player on the team and was the runner-up for the South Carolina College Football Player of the Year in his senior year. The 1970 team played for the NAIA National Championship. He is a member of the Wofford Athletic Hall of Fame.
Chandler graduated summa cum laude from Wofford in 1971 with a degree in economics and was the class valedictorian. He was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa while at Wofford. He earned his MBA from the University of South Carolina and is a graduate of the Harvard Business School’s advanced management program.
He was selected as Wofford’s Young Alumnus of the Year in 1983 and has led the Terrier Club and endowed athletics scholarship efforts for many years, helping to achieve more than $47 million in endowed athletics funds. The Chandlers have supported Wofford generously through scholarships and renovation and building projects over more than 45 years of involvement with the college, including being major contributors to the construction of Lesesne Residence Hall and the Stewart H. Johnson Greek Village. Most recently, the college’s new outward-facing sign on North Church Street was made possible by the generosity of the Chandlers.
Chandler retired in 2019 as chairman of the board of Spartanburg-based Milliken & Co.; his 18-year involvement with the company substantially influenced the Chandlers’ decision to be the lead contributors of the Chandler Center for Environmental Studies. Over a 48-year business career in financial services and industrial manufacturing, he served in numerous roles from intern to chairman, president and chief executive officer, and he was a member of nine corporate boards.
During the Chandlers’ marriage and 11 corporate-related family moves, they raised two daughters, and Delores Chandler managed a real estate development business spanning 38 years.