Smiths support the sciences

Although John Smith ’71 was not focused on the sciences as a Cornell College student, he is one of the strongest proponents of the college’s Greater > Than campaign science facilities project.

John Smith '71 and Dyan Smith, honorary alumna. Photo by Jim Heemstra
John Smith ’71 and Dyan Smith, honorary alumna. Photo by Jim Heemstra

Smith and his wife, Dyan Smith, an honorary alumna, demonstrated their support with a $500,000 gift for the project.

As a philosophy, political science, and economics major, Smith says science was not an interest for him as a Cornell student. “On the other hand, I did take science to get my B.A.,” said Smith, Chairman of the Board of CRST International in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. “This project is really important to the college’s strategic plan. I absolutely understand how important it is so I’m a full supporter of the campaign. I knew we were getting close to a goal, and I really wanted to get it over the top and thought this would help do it.”

Cornell’s $35 million science project will more than double the college’s STEM space with the construction, now underway, of the four-story Russell Science Center and renovations of West Science and portions of Law Hall. In just under two years, the college has exceeded $32 million in gifts toward the project.  

Smith has been a member of Cornell’s Board of Trustees since 2004, serving as chair from 2008-2011, and as a member of the Greater > Than campaign cabinet. He was given the Cornell College Distinguished Achievement Award in 2012 for his distinguished service and career.

“John has provided outstanding leadership on the Cornell College Board of Trustees, and his and Dyan’s service and support over the years have strengthened Cornell immeasurably,” said Cornell President Jonathan Brand. “We are grateful that, with this gift to the sciences, they continue their generous legacy.”

The Smiths have supported the renovations of the first-year residence halls, the Thomas Commons, the Garner President’s House, The Berry Career Institute, and Cornell’s Annual Fund.