Cornell to Rename Its School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering for an African American

smith_robertRobert 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.

Related Articles


  1. I think it a great idea to dedicate the school under his name. Being a HEOP student has
    Made me graftful and humble to the opportunity Cornell gave me to becoming a doctor.
    Class 85

Leave a Reply

Get the JBHE Weekly Bulletin

Receive our weekly email newsletter delivered to your inbox

Latest News

Three African Americans Appointed to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Roles in Higher Education

The appointments to diversity positions are Tamara Clegg at the University of Maryland, Andrew Alvez at the School of Visual Arts in New York City, and Kendriana Price at the University of Kentucky.

Study Finds Women of Color Author a Disproportionate Share of Banned Books in American Schools

In the 2021-2022 academic year, school and libraries across the country experienced a significant spike in book bans. A new study has found a disproportionate share of these banned books are written by women of color and include characters from diverse backgrounds.

Christopher Davis Appointed President of LeMoyne-Owen College in Memphis

Dr. Davis was appointed interim president of LeMoyne-Owen College last summer. Over the past year, he has led the college through a rebranding initiative, an increase in athletic programming, and improvements to campus infrastructure.

Study Reveals Racial Disparities in Use of Social Security Disability Insurance

According to the report, Black Americans are 1.5 to 2 times more likely to receive Social Security Disability Insurance, and spend roughly 40 percent more on medical care than White Americans.

Featured Jobs