Cornell to Rename Its School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering for an African American
Filed in STEM Fields on February 9, 2016
Robert F. Smith, chair and CEO of Vista Equity Partners has made a $50 million donation to Cornell University to support chemical and biomolecular engineering education at the university. Smith is the only African American man on Forbes 400 list of the wealthiest Americans. The gift is one of the largest ever made by an African American to an institution of higher education.
The donation will support fellowships and scholarships for African American students at Cornell. The funds will also create the Robert Frederick Smith Tech Scholars program. Under this program, African American and women high schools students with financial need will be selected into engineering programs at Cornell’s Ithaca, New York, campus. After completing their bachelor’s degree, the students will then spend a year at the new Cornell Tech campus in New York City where they will earn a master’s degree.
Lance Collins, the Joseph Silbert Dean of Cornell Engineering, stated that “Robert’s generosity will not only elevate our School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, but it will ensure it becomes more accessible than ever. I believe an affordable educational path from engineering in Ithaca to Cornell Tech in New York City, for those who wouldn’t otherwise be offered such an opportunity, will produce some of the sharpest minds in engineering and technology.”
As a result of the donation Cornell will rename its School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering in Smith’s honor. The school was founded in 1938.