James Clark & Robert H. Smith
The University of Maryland announced gifts totaling $60 million,
including $30 million from real estate developer Robert H. Smith, an
alumnus and benefactor of the Robert H. Smith School of Business, on
February 4, 2005. Smith’s gift will support students, faculty and
academic programs in the Smith School, as well as the university’s
Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center.
The Smith School was named in honor of Smith in 1998, when he
provided an endowment of $15 million, the school’s largest gift ever.
Smith received his degree in accounting from the business school in 1950
and has been a continuous and active supporter of the school, providing
an additional $3 million in 2003, among other contributions. Since
Smith’s naming gift, the school’s stature and size have undergone a
dramatic transformation with the addition of world-class research
centers, top-flight faculty and increased student quality.
“The Smith School has embarked on a path of excellence that has been,
in part, paved by the generosity, support and shared vision of Bob
Smith,” said Howard Frank, dean of the Smith School. “This is an
unquestionable example of how one person can make a profound
Smith says the University of Maryland’s commitment to quality should
be a magnet to attract others. “With these gifts today, we open the door
to invite others to see the vision of how together we can build a great
university,” Smith said.
University of Maryland President C.D. Mote Jr. announced Smith’s
gift, along with a $30 million gift from A. James Clark, B.A. 1950, at a
news conference in the State House in Annapolis, calling them the
“largest philanthropic investments ever made to a Maryland public
institution.” Clark’s gift will provide scholarship support for the A.
James Clark School of Engineering, to which Clark has previously
committed in a very substantial way. Clark and Smith, both members of
the University of Maryland College Park Foundation, chair the Leadership
Phase of the university’s fund-raising campaign, which is still in the
“Jim Clark and Bob Smith have today taken on a huge leadership role
with these unprecedented, pace-setting gifts and with their commitment
to quality and access for future generations of Maryland students,” said
Mote, who introduced the two benefactors and Maryland Gov. Robert
Ehrlich at the news conference. “These gifts are far more valuable than
even the considerable number of dollars involved. They are setting a
wonderful example that will reward the state and the university many
times over in the years to come.”
Mote said that as co-chairs of the Leadership Phase of the campaign
that will be publicly launched in Fall 2006, Clark and Smith will work
with him to secure additional lead gifts, building on the university’s
growing success in attracting philanthropic support.