Cornell alumnus Robert Frederick Smith, BS in Chemical Engineering '85, has donated $50 million to the College of Engineering to increase opportunities for minorities and women in technology, The Wall Street Journal reports.
The gift from Mr. Smith, 53 years old, is expected to be announced on Friday. Mr. Smith graduated from Cornell’s Engineering college in 1985 with a degree in chemical engineering. He is the founder and chief executive of Vista Equity Partners, a private equity firm based in Austin, Texas, which focuses on enterprise software.
The gift is notable both for its size and focus, representing the largest donation from Mr. Smith personally and from the Fund II Foundation, which he founded.
Mr. Smith said he was motivated to make such a large donation at this stage in his life because “it’s better to do it while you’re alive and you can see the fruits of it in people.
“In my mind, we’re about to go through…what we call the fourth industrial revolution and the on-ramps have been traditionally closed to African Americans and women. I think this is a great opportunity to provide…on-ramps so that they can participate in this digital economy.”
Read the full article on The Wall Street Journal. [subscription required]