Smith Community Mourns Loss of Benefactor Robert H.
It is with great sadness that I inform you that Robert H. Smith passed away on
Tuesday, December 29, following a stroke. My deepest sympathy to Mr. Smith’s
family and all that knew him. I had the privilege of getting to know him over
the past years, and I have not met a more impressive yet humble and caring man.
He is not just our school’s namesake, but also a guiding force. He will be
forever remembered and celebrated at the University of Maryland and undoubtedly
by the countless other institutions that benefited from his kindness.
As our school’s great benefactor, we owe a profound debt of gratitude to Mr.
Smith for his unmatched support and generosity. It is because of his
philanthropy and leadership that we have achieved such success over the past
decade, and his legacy will be felt by our students, alumni, faculty and staff
for generations to come. Bob Smith changed the course of our school’s future.
A truly remarkable man, Robert H. Smith graduated from the University of
Maryland with a degree in accounting in 1950. He went on to become a visionary
builder-developer, best known for the vast Crystal City complex in Arlington,
Va. He is former chairman of Charles E. Smith Commercial Realty, a division of
Vornado Realty Trust, and former chairman of Charles E. Smith Residential, a
division of Archstone-Smith.
He poured equal amounts of enthusiasm and energy into his career and his vast
philanthropic works. In 1997, he gave $15 million, the largest gift the school
ever received, and remained actively involved and committed to the school ever
since, going well beyond his initial gift to keep the school moving toward its
vision of achieving status as a top institution. Mr. Smith made it a priority to
visit the school often and took great interest in our students and the entire
Smith School community.
With sincerest sadness and sympathy,