Third 2022 Alumni Award of Distinction Recipient Sandra Urie Welcomed Back on Campus

In October 2022, Sandra Urie ’70, Loyce LaShawndra Pace ’95, and Torrence Boone ’87, were awarded the annual Alumni Award of Distinction, though Sandra Urie was unable to attend the ceremonial event due to a mix-up with the dates. On April 11 to 12, Urie was welcomed back on campus to attend economics classes, speak with students over dinner, and explore campus. 

Graduating from Abbot Academy in 1970, Urie works in financial services where she fights for women’s rights and advancement in the workplace, starting during a time when such progress was unheard of. Urie spoke on how the four years she spent at Abbot helped her develop the values that she carries to this day and how being at Abbot opened her up to many opportunities following her graduation. 

“I spent four years with Abbot, from 1966 to 1970. I think it was foundational for me, honestly. It was great education, great friends, great teachers, and just a set of values that are kind of universal, you know, and it really launched me… So much of what I did at Abbot, across the board, in class, outside of class, great teachers, inspiring people, [was], I would use the word foundational. It just kind of set me on a path,” said Urie. 

Urie continued by noting how she carries the community value of non sibi in her career at Cambridge Associates, working with non-profit, mission-driven institutions such as schools, museums, foundations, and hospitals. The notion of service, according to Urie, is one of the most important values that she has retained while at Andover, to strive to have a positive impact in the world. 

“[I think the value that resonates with me the most from Andover is] service, doing something good in the world, trying to have an impact. The firm I work for, Cambridge Associates, it began as an investment advisor to colleges and universities, the whole non-profit sector and we advise them on issues related to their endowments and financial planning. I feel I’ve been very fortunate in my career to be able to be of service to that sector of the economy that is so critical in terms of what it does, and what institutions like Andover and other places do in the world,” said Urie.

Furthermore, Urie described how the most valuable piece of advice she can give to new generations is to be open-minded when looking at future opportunities and to take chances. This advice played a large role in Urie’s own life, beginning as a student interested in Russian literature, later a Russian teacher, and now CEO of a major financial services firm. 

“I think it’s important to be open to the possibilities, and be curious, not to be too narrow in how you look at the future. I started as a Russian teacher, I’ve ended up running a major financial services firm. In 1974, if you told me I’d be sitting here today, having done that, I never would have imagined it. So I think when you do what you love, [which was] working for non-profits for me… Doors open and good opportunities come. If you are too close minded, I think you pass up on things that you should try, you should choose, you’d be willing to make a leap of faith,” said Urie.