Harvey Mudd College Trustee Norman F. Sprague III, an active and dedicated member of the board of trustees for 35 years, died March 14, 2014, at the age of 67. He was the grandson of Harvey S. Mudd, for whom the College is named.
“Norm was a truly extraordinary person as well as an amazing supporter of Harvey Mudd College,” said President Maria Klawe. “We will miss him dearly.”
Sprague was the son of Caryll Mudd Sprague and Norman Sprague Jr., a founding trustee of the College. Sprague carried on the family tradition of deep involvement with the College, joining the board in 1979. He served for many years as chair of the Investment Committee, supporting the College through financial guidance and his own philanthropy. Sprague donated generously to Harvey Mudd to fund multiple student scholarships, as well as the construction of the Hoch-Shanahan Dining Commons and Shanahan Center for Teaching and Learning.
“Norm always took the long view of Harvey Mudd College’s strategies and policies,” said Wayne Drinkward, chair of the board of trustees. “On fiscal matters, he was a voice for conservatism and managing within our means. The solid financial position the College enjoys today is in large part due to adhering to that sage advice.”
In 2010, Sprague received an Alumni Association Lifetime Recognition Award for his years of “extraordinary and enduring service” to Harvey Mudd College. Upon receiving his award, Sprague told the audience, “It’s been an honor and a privilege to be part of the Harvey Mudd College family for so many years. I’m in awe of and very proud to be associated with the alumni of Harvey Mudd because it’s not an easy place to graduate from. Those of you who have done so have earned something really special. This honor is particularly moving because of that.”
The Sprague family has a long history of supporting Harvey Mudd College through the Mildred and Harvey Mudd Foundation and the Caryll and Norman Sprague Jr. Foundation. Two of Sprague’s brothers-in-law are also deeply committed to the College: William Mingst served as a trustee from 1998 to 2012, chaired the board from 2007 to 2012 and is currently a trustee emeritus; Joe Connolly was recently named a trustee.
Sprague was an orthopedic surgeon and early pioneer in the field of arthroscopic surgery, performing the first procedures at UCLA and chairing the UCLA Instructional Course in Operative Arthroscopy for 14 consecutive years. In addition to private practice, he taught orthopedic surgery at UCLA and lectured widely throughout Europe and North America.
In his later years, Sprague turned his attention to investment activities. He served on the board of the Mesabi Trust, an iron mining royalty trust traded on the NYSE, and oversaw a portfolio of mineral and oil royalty leases. As co-founder and general partner of Cyprus Partners and Sprague Family Securities, he managed equity and fixed-income portfolios.
Sprague was active in civic and philanthropic work in addition to his service to Harvey Mudd College. He was a trustee and past board chair of the Nature Conservancy of California and a trustee and Master Planning Committee chair of the Natural History Museum of Santa Barbara. He served as trustee and past board chair of Harvard-Westlake School, and as trustee, treasurer and Investment Committee chair of Cate School. He also sat on the boards of the UCSB Foundation and the Good Samaritan Hospital of Los Angeles.
Sprague is survived by his wife, Marianne; their six children; and six grandchildren.
A celebration of Norman Sprague will be held Friday, March 28, at 11 a.m. in the Cate School Chapel in Carpinteria, Calif. A reception will follow at the Mesa House.