Lives of Great Purpose

Schedule a Tour or Shadow Day

Richard Sands ’69

Richard is one of the most successful businessmen in Rochester as well as one of the area’s most engaged civic leaders. His leadership, vision, and compassion informs his work as chairman of the board of Constellation and as a philanthropic leader and community champion in the Greater Rochester region.
In 2016, The Sands Family Supporting Foundation was established with a $61 million gift to the Rochester Area Community Foundation in order to create a strategic, long-term approach to benefit the community in a sustainable way. Focusing on arts and culture, education, and health grants ranging from $5,000 to $50,000 are made available to local non-profits. Richard and his family have committed to being actively involved in making their financial contributions even more impactful and strategic. Currently, Richard is the Chairman of Constellation Brands, Inc. and serves as Chairman of Education Success Network. He serves on the board of trustees for the University of Rochester and Rochester Institute of Technology. Richard is also Chairman of the Friends of the Constellation Brands-Marvin Sands Performing Arts Center and Chairman of Cerion.

His work supports the idea “school is the first community” and the impact of these early experiences leads to success throughout life.

The Harley School’s Impact

Reflecting on his time here, Richard notes our emphasis on problem-solving and independent thinking is complemented by allowing students time for creativity. But one of the most critical aspects, to him, is growing thoughtful, engaged citizens.

“At younger ages when you are learning how to learn and how to be part of a community, if students aren’t taught community values, then how can you expect them be a contributing team member in a larger community?” Richard says. “Harley is at the forefront of civic engagement, community responsibility and involvement, and philanthropy—all things that are important in how to be a good citizen in today’s very complex world. There is a big emphasis on diversity and community involvement.”

On a personal level, Harley helped Richard uncover and grow skills he utilized to successfully run a global business. These building blocks grew into his three tenets of leadership at Constellation Brands: courage, wisdom, and compassion. He cites our school as being on the leading edge of this work.

Sharing Lessons, Changing Lives

Community is an important part of a Harley education and these experiences inform Richard’s work in other areas as well; such as founding and serving as Board Chairman of the Education Success Network. This organization focuses on reaching Rochester area children who most need paths to success by developing and supporting opportunities for students to engage in school, graduate, prepare for college or a career, and become engaged citizens. To Richard the arts and nature come together and foster the creative side in people—which complements the analytic side. Harley takes a holistic approach to educating in order to foster the development of a well-rounded student.

The importance of being respected in school is an experience Richard wants to make sure to share. The opportunities he had here contributed meaningfully to his growth as a young adult—and the “license to think” he was given made a lasting impact. One he thinks is worth fostering in many school settings.

Balance in Education

Richard is well-known for his acuity with numbers. He is also known for his interest in the arts. This is personified by Richard as both a businessman and a woodworker. Blending academic and creative experiences allow students see the linkages between art and history, for example. Roots that influence his life’s passions today business, community and art.

Related Images: