Robert F. Smith donates $15 million to his Alma Mater Cornell University to support underserved students pursuing careers in STEM


In addition to the funding announcement, Smith will also receive Cornell’s Distinguished Alumni Award. The achievement celebrates and recognizes former engineers who use their professional achievements to give back.

“Seriously, I am delighted to accept this price,” Smith said. “In many ways, this school made me who i am today. This taught me lessons that still guide me. So it means a lot to be invited back and honored like that.

He continued, “I chose to study at Cornell many years ago because I did my research. I learned that Ezra Cornell, Andrew Dickson White and the Alpha lore Phi Alpha, my fraternity. Their example — their courage – drew me here. That and the weather.

The new funds will begin distributing in the fall 2022 semester with a strong preference for HBCU graduates as well as graduating students from “big city urban core high schools,” according to information shared with AfroTech. Individuals from diverse and underrepresented backgrounds and/or those who have had to overcome trials and tribulations in pursuit of their educational goals will also be given top priority when it comes to selecting recipients of the funds.


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