inducted October 2, 2008
An outstanding athlete, a devoted Columbia supporter and more importantly, a great man, the name Bill Sanford will be forever linked with Columbia Rowing. Active in the rowing community until his dying day, Sanford remains one of the true legends of Columbia Athletics.
A four-year letterwinner in rowing, Sanford was a member of the great 1929 men’s heavyweight crew that won the Intercollegiate Rowing Championship on the Hudson River in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. Regarded as one of the landmark victories in more than 100 years of American rowing, it was the last Columbia crew, heavyweight or lightweight, to win collegiate rowing’s national championship.
Upon graduation from Columbia in 1930, Sanford continued rowing competitively and nearly made the 1932 Olympic Games in Los Angeles as a sweep oarsman.
Sanford always found time to give back to his alma mater. Whether serving as the long-time finish line judge at crew races or giving his financial support by way of sponsoring varsity shells, Sanford was the ‘rock’ of Columbia crew and a loyal friend of the athletic community.
Outside of Columbia, Bill Sanford ran his own business in Westchester County and helped raise a family with his wife, Dorothy. He also gave back to the community as a long-time mentor at the New York Athletic Club and for the Boy Scouts of America.
Perhaps fittingly, Sanford passed away at the age of 90 on Father’s Day of 1998, while rowing with his son, Thomas, with the New York Athletic Club.