Sanford N. McDonnell

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Sanford "Sandy" Noyes McDonnell (October 12, 1922 – March 19, 2012) was an American engineer, businessman and philanthropist.[1] Former chairman and chief executive officer of McDonnell Douglas Corporation, he also served as national president of the Boy Scouts of America and as chairman of Character Education Partnership.[2][3] He was "Man of the Year" in St. Louis in 1984.[2]


A native of Little Rock, Arkansas,[4] McDonnell attended Princeton University, the University of Colorado Boulder and Washington University, achieving bachelor's degrees in economics (1945) and mechanical engineering (1948) and a master's degree in applied mechanics (1954).[2] In 1948, he joined McDonnell Douglas Corporation, a company founded by his uncle James S. McDonnell, as a stress engineer. He rose within the ranks of the company to become president in 1971. The following year, he became chief executive officer. In 1980, James S. McDonnell died, and McDonnell succeeded him as chairman of the board,[5] a role he retained until 1988.[2] He has also been chairman of the board of governors of the Aerospace Industries Association.

Arkansas Aviation Historical Society inducted McDonnell into the Arkansas Aviation Hall of Fame in 1989.[6]


During his service with McDonnell Douglas, McDonnell had a strong interest in ethics. As a child, he had been a Boy Scout, rising to the rank of Star Scout.[7] During his term with McDonnell Douglas, he used the Scout Promise as the basis for a work Code of Ethics. Following his retirement, McDonnell turned his focus to education and the need of focusing on character in public schools.[8] After establishing a program in St. Louis public schools (the Personal Responsibility Education Process),[7] he became founding chair of the national Character Education Partnership in 1993, a position he held until 2005.[3]

McDonnell worked to translate the character education programs of the Boy Scouts to higher education through service academies. "The military academies are far ahead of almost all of the other universities in the emphasis they place on character building," he once said. "I hope universities all across the nation will emulate their programs for character development." He pledged $5 million to the U.S. Air Force Academy in 2011 for a Center for Character and Leadership Development.[9]

McDonnell also served in other areas. In 1987, he became the first president of the Foundation for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award,[10] a foundation that supports the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program in recognizing U.S. organizations that "have a role-model organizational management system that ensures continuous improvement in the delivery of products and/or services, demonstrates efficient and effective operations, and provides a way of engaging and responding to customers and other stakeholders."[11]


  1. ^ "Sanford McDonnell dies; headed aerospace giant". 2011-11-21. Retrieved 2012-03-20.
  2. ^ a b c d "History: Sanford N.McDonnell". Archived from the original on 20 November 2010. Retrieved 19 November 2010.
  3. ^ a b "Sanford N. McDonnell, Founding Chair, Becomes Character Education Partnership Chairman Emeritus". Highbeam. U.S. Newswire. 8 August 2005.
  4. ^ "World Who's who in Commerce and Industry". 1968.
  5. ^ Salpukas, Agis (16 December 1996). "A Hard Landing, Even for Giants of the Air". New York Times. Retrieved 19 November 2010.
  6. ^ "Arkansas Aviation Historical Society Collection". Butler Center for Arkansas Studies. Missing or empty |url= (help)
  7. ^ a b International Leadership Network (9 October 1995). "International Leadership Network Honors 11 Outstanding Youngsters and Sanford N. McDonnell". Retrieved 19 November 2010.
  8. ^ McDonnell, Sanford N. (11 June 1995). "Teaching Johnny to Be Good". New York Times. Retrieved 19 November 2010.
  9. ^ Zinsmeister, Karl (Spring 2012). "Spartan Donors". Philanthropy. Retrieved 5 June 2012.
  10. ^ Josephson, Michael S.; Wes Hanson (17 August 2004). The Power of Character. Unlimited Publishing LLC. p. 250. ISBN 978-1-58832-107-7.
  11. ^ "Baldrige Frequently Asked Questions". National Institute of Standards and Technology. 26 October 2010. Retrieved 19 November 2010.

See also[edit]

Boy Scouts of America
Preceded by
Edward C. Joullian III
National president
Succeeded by
Charles M. Pigott