25 Jul 2018

HBS Alumni Leader, Benefactor Dies at 86

“Dick” Spangler (MBA 1956) remembered for generosity, service to University


C. D. (“Dick”) Spangler (MBA 1956)
Photo by Webb Chappell

C. D. (“Dick”) Spangler, Jr., a Harvard Business School alumnus (MBA 1956) well known and admired for his many notable achievements in both the public and private sectors, his visionary leadership and generous philanthropy, and his constant kindness and concern for the welfare and betterment of others, died on July 22 in Charlotte, North Carolina. He was 86 years old.

After graduating from HBS and serving for two years in the US Army, Spangler gained great success in several industries, including the family construction business, C.D. Spangler Construction Company, and Golden Eagle Industries, a real estate investment firm he started in 1968. C.D. Spangler Construction company was founded by Spangler's father, C.D. Spangler, Sr. – a self-made man who had not been able to afford college and who, at the age of 50, was a participant in Harvard Business School’s Advanced Management Program for senior executives when his son was a second-year MBA student. Spangler also chaired the Bank of North Carolina during the 1980s, playing a key role in its merger with the North Carolina National Bank Corporation (now Bank of America), and became the owner and longtime board chair of National Gypsum, founded in Buffalo in 1925 and now one of the largest gypsum board producers in the world.

With a lifelong interest in education, Spangler also oversaw the schooling of more than a million students as head of North Carolina’s Board of Education from 1982 to 1986. As president of the University of North Carolina (based at its Chapel Hill campus) from 1986 to 1997, he increased enrollment and faculty funding while prioritizing educational quality and affordability.

His devotion, generosity, and service to Harvard University and Harvard Business School were extraordinary. With his wife, Meredith Riggs Spangler, and two daughters, Anna Spangler Nelson (MBA 1988) and Abigail Riggs Spangler, he gave a major gift to the School that made the Spangler Center, a focal point of campus life for the entire HBA community, possible. An HBS professorship (held by China expert William Kirby) also bears the family’s name.

Always willing to offer his advice and counsel, Spangler was on the HBS Board of Dean’s Advisors from 1991 to 2011 and more recently as an emeritus member. He served as a member of the HBS Visiting Committee and as its chair from 2001 to 2003. He was co-chair of his 30th HBS Reunion gift committee and chaired the Capital Campaign the School held from 2002 to 2005, an effort that raised some $600 million. From 1998 to 2004, he was a member of Harvard’s Board of Overseers and served as the Board’s president from 2003 to 2004. He also worked for many years as a member of the Executive Committee of Harvard’s Committee on University Resources.

In 1988, Spangler received Harvard Business School’s highest accolade, the Alumni Achievement Award. In 2005, the University honored him with the Harvard Medal, a special honor for alumni in appreciation of their many contributions to Harvard. He was the recipient of an honorary doctor of laws degree from the University in 2013.

Read the complete HBS remembrance

Read more (News & Observer report)


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