ALFRED — As the founder of Sealing Devices, Inc., in Lancaster, Terry S. Galanis Sr. knows the value of taking care of his employees, something he has been doing for the past 56 years since he started the business in his garage with a $157 investment.
Even at the age of 101, Galanis goes to his office as often as he can, greeting employees by name, and asking about their families. He hand-writes birthday cards to each of them.
The philosophy of taking care of employees has paid off for Galanis, and his son, Terry S. Galanis Jr., who took over as president and chief executive officer in 1984. Their company has grown into a multi-million-dollar-a-year business, with nearly 300 employees.
Now Galanis is helping his college alma mater, Alfred University, take care of its employees, too.
To celebrate his 101st birthday in February, Galanis, a 1940 alumnus of Alfred with a degree in ceramic engineering, made a $1 million gift to the university, with a note to President Mark Zupan: “Use some of this to do something nice for your employees.”
At an employee meeting in Nevins Theater Tuesday, Zupan announced the university will award a one-time payment to all full-time and part-time, regular non-bargaining unit employees hired before July 1.
Zupan said the awards are given “in appreciation of all that you do. … Alfred University is committed to taking better care of our people and thanks Mr. Galanis for enabling us to take this step toward doing so.”
Another $100,000 of Galanis’ gift will be used to match gifts to the Alfred Fund during the university’s annual Day of Giving on Thursday. He is one of two alumni who will match, dollar-for-dollar, up to $200,000, any gift to the Alfred Fund and any new or increased commitment to the Saxon Circle, the university’s five-year program for leadership gifts, which now has more than 500 members.
The remainder will be used to support the College of Business and the proposed Jericho Hill project for athletics.
“This most recent gift from Terry Galanis Sr. is one in a long history of generosity from the Galanis family to Alfred University,” Zupan said. “For many years, the family sponsored the Galanis Business Award for our College of Business that introduced the Alfred University name to hundreds of Western New York businesspeople. They provided the support to establish the junior varsity football coaching position, assuring more student-athletes an opportunity to play, and in addition, refurbished the gymnasium at our McLane Center creating the Galanis Family Arena.”
Even before Galanis made his latest gif, the board of trustees had voted to bestow honorary degrees on Galanis, who will be awarded a Doctor of Engineering degree, and on son Terry, who will be awarded a Doctor of Commerce degree at commencement on May 18.
Terry Galanis has been an Alfred trustee since 1999 and is chair of its advancement committee.