The Spring 2022 issue of ONE MARYLAND Magazine recently arrived in the mailboxes of Terrapin Club members. ONE MARYLAND features stories of strength and perseverance, of determination and spirit. These stories define our athletics program, and this new magazine will allow us to share these stories with you. Over the next few weeks, we will be rolling out these stories on as a preview of what you will find in ONE MARYLAND. To receive future issues of the magazine when they debut, please join the Terrapin Club. We hope you enjoy.
Harry and Thomas Alford remember what former Maryland lacrosse coach Dave Cottle told them.
“When he recruited us he said, ‘Your dream is our dream.’ “
The Alfords’ dream of leaving a legacy for the University of Maryland in honor of their parents Kayanne and Harry Alford Jr. has come true in a gift to the institution.
Their gift of $50,000 in cryptocurrency was matched by the website they used for a $100,000 donation. It is split with $50,000 going to Maryland men’s lacrosse, $25,000 going to the African-American Studies program (from which both brothers graduated) and another $25,000 going to the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship inside the Smith College of Business.
“Everything we did in life, whether it was them teaching us or us learning from them, it was always about leaving a legacy – making sure you left someplace better than you found it,” said Thomas, a midfielder who was a three-time Academic All-ACC honoree.
“And also doing something great that would make it possible for your name to be on a door or a building anywhere. So our initial thought was we definitely want to honor our parents in some fashion and no better way than to do it in the form of a University of Maryland gift, because they loved Maryland.”
The lacrosse portion of the gift will be used to assist Maryland lacrosse players from under-represented populations like the Alfords themselves.
“We were inspired to honor our parents by establishing this lacrosse scholarship to enhance diversity, including but not limited to racial or gender diversity,” said Harry, twice an honorable mention All-American goalkeeper.
“What we were really looking for was to offer a way to provide opportunities to lacrosse players who looked like us and came from under-represented backgrounds. We feel diversity is an engine for inclusion, but it also drives innovation and leads to greater success, whether it’s on the field or in the boardroom.”
Department officials said this is the first donation to the University to use cryptocurrency as the means to make the gift. The Alfords’ sense is that this won’t be the last.
“It’s safe, it’s secure and it’s instant,” said Thomas. “Instead of dilly-dallying with a wire, this gift was automatic right away. We went to the preferred website (the Giving Block), and they were able to tell us right away that they received it.”
The digital nature of the gift added to the legacy.
“One thing we discovered going through our mom’s things when she passed away is that she had a crypto wallet,” said Thomas. “So she was a trend-setter. She was very eager to learn about new technology.”
“We think there’s a whole generation of potential donors who would like to contribute and support the institutions and programs they care about,” said Harry. “But it’s hard to get off zero when you don’t really make it accessible to the folks you’re trying to address and meet.
“So that’s another facet of this. We want to make sure other people are inspired.”
The innovation, the chance to give back and the opportunity to honor their parents has inspired this gift by the Alfords.
“We fell in love with Maryland because they’re fearless,” said Thomas. “Fear The Turtle was more than just a marketing attempt to get people to donate to Maryland.
“For us, it was something more meaningful because it was closer to how we live life and how our parents lived life. Fearlessly.”
Doug Dull (Maryland ’81) was the Associate A.D. for Communications at Maryland from 2003-2012. He is a past president of the College Sports Information Directors of America and was inducted into its Hall of Fame in 2016. Dull spent nearly 30 years in college athletics and received CoSIDA’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2020.
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