J. Spencer and Patricia Standish sitting in the living room that now bears their name in recognition of their generous gift.

A Legacy of Community

When J. Spencer Standish, chairman emeritus of Albany International Corporation, and director emeritus of the University at Albany Foundation passed away this fall, he left behind a legacy of support.

Standish and his wife Patricia endowed the first faculty position at the School of Business, the Standish Professorship in Entrepreneurship, and kick-started an Endowment for Excellence, which provides support for enhancements, outfitting and material needs for the Massry Center for Business. The student gathering area in the atrium is named the J. Spencer and Patricia Standish Living Room.

Standish, who went from the ground floor to the president’s office during his tenure at Albany International Corp, oversaw a period of tremendous growth for the company. He went to work for Albany International in 1952 when his father, John, was the company president. As a young man, Standish learned from the ground up how the business worked. When he became president and CEO of the company, he believed in management by direct contact.

It was perhaps this method of learning every aspect of the business that led to his own belief in the power of entrepreneurialism, and his family’s extensive support for UAlbany’s School of Business.

Interim Dean Hany Shawky met Standish many years ago. He said, “I have long known and highly respected Mr. Standish for his business acumen and his impressive accomplishments of expanding Albany International into becoming a global technology leader in the paper machine clothing industry. In addition, his generous philanthropic interest in promoting higher education in the Capital Region will be remembered and appreciated for a long time to come.”

The Standish name lives on through the Standish Professorship, supported by a $1.5 million gift. The endowment has helped propel the entrepreneurship track and attract renowned scholar-teachers in the emerging field. Last fall, Bill Wales became the Standish Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship and Management.

Dr. Wales said, “The Standish Professorship played a critical role in my decision to come to UAlbany. Named professorships open up wonderful opportunities for mid-career faculty to join and make an impact within new institutions with the resources afforded to the position.”

Wales said that he is deeply grateful to the Standish family for their generous gift to the School of Business. He said, “I had the opportunity to thank Spencer and Pat for their gift in person last fall. It was clear from the attendance at Spencer’s wake that he had an immense impact upon the community and will be deeply missed.”