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,
- Washington Post, Jan. 3
- Washington Post, Dec. 31
- WashingtonPost.com, Dec. 30
- Washington Business Journal
- Washington City Paper
- Art Daily.org
- Loudoun Times-Mirror
- The Diamondback
- Georgetown Week – Blog
- WRGW News – Blog
- President C.D. Mote, University of Maryland
- Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, University of Maryland
- Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School
- George Washington University
- The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
- Lincoln’s Cottage
- National Gallery of Art
- National Trust for Historic Preservation
- Wilmer Eye Institute at Johns Hopkins