“There is never a day in my professional, philanthropic or personal life that I do not use many of the life-changing lessons learned at Gilmour,” says Matthew Figgie ’84. “As my daughter begins her own Gilmour journey, I cannot think of a more perfect environment for her. We had many choices, but there was never a doubt that I wanted her to gain the very same advantage through Gilmour’s broad-based, multi-faceted educational experience.”
Figgie is chairman of Clark-Reliance Corporation, a global manufacturing firm that serves the power generation, petroleum, refining and chemical processing industries. He also is chairman of Figgie Capital, a diversified, multi-disciplined investment company that invests on a global basis, and vice president of the Board of Trustees for The Figgie Foundation. This eighth-generation Clevelander says his competitive spirit was honed on the Gilmour athletic fields. “I remember my coaches saying that as long as the scoreboard is on, we are playing to win. That same mindset is so true in business every day,” Figgie says.
He recalls that work ethic was paramount as well. Off the athletic fields, Figgie was learning about business from the ground up, working as a code welder, machinist and assembler in factories and machine shops. This direct, collaborative approach to business and his coworkers ultimately contributed to Clark-Reliance twice being named one of the Plain Dealer’s Top Workplaces and the company also being honored by NorthCoast 99 as a great place to work. In addition to his other responsibilities, Figgie fine-tuned his passion for investments on Wall Street, increasing his knowledge and experience in equity investing, economic forecasting, currency and commodity trading, global asset allocation and mergers and acquisitions.
Having a greater calling through charitable work is another critical defining factor of the Gilmour experience. “My parents instilled the wisdom in me that ‘to whom much is given, much is expected,’” Figgie says. “This ideal was completely reinforced at Gilmour and it has been the cornerstone of the work I do in our community.”
Figgie serves on the board of University Hospitals, on its Quality and Development committees, and on the Leadership Councils for both Orthopedics and Cardiology. The Figgie Foundation has set up seven professional chairs across the nation, most recently at University Hospitals and Case Western Reserve University. He will co-chair the hospital’s corporate committee for the 2013 Five Star Sensation fundraiser and will also serve as the 2012 corporate chairperson of the National Kidney Foundation’s Kidney Walk of Cleveland. Last year, Figgie was a co-recipient of the Cleveland Public Theater’s Pan Award.
An Academic All-American in baseball, National Merit Scholar and 1984 Gilmour Trophy recipient, Figgie believes that Gilmour’s rigorous academic curriculum provided the discipline and structure for his higher education, as he proceeded to simultaneously earn a Bachelor of Science from the University of Virginia and a Bachelor of Arts from Baldwin-Wallace College. He then completed an MBA from Case Western Reserve University.
“The defining factor that sets Gilmour far apart is its people ... that is what makes my school so unique and fantastic,” said Figgie. “It is not only the lifelong friendships that I have made and the successful people who have walked these halls, but the new friends that I look forward to meeting now as a Gilmour parent. It is this special network and the common goals of a broad-based, total education that lead to the quality people, leaders and good corporate citizens who graduate from this very special school. That’s why I am so thrilled to give my daughter the gift of ‘Gilmour!’”