WORCESTER, Mass. – Park B. Smith, a 1954 graduate of Holy Cross, together with his wife, Carol, are donating $10 million to the College for the construction of a major, new building. The gift, the largest in the history of Holy Cross, was announced today during a groundbreaking ceremony for the building. “College Hall,” as the building is currently known, will be named Carol and Park B. Smith Hall.
Smith Hall will house The Center for Religion, Ethics, and Culture, as well as the philosophy and religious studies departments, the Center for Interdisciplinary and Special Studies, information technology services, and academic student services such as the registrar’s office. The building will also provide critical interior and exterior space for social interaction and dialogue among students and faculty. Construction begins this month with a completion date in the summer of 2001.
Smith’s gift to Holy Cross is a reflection of his belief in the school and its potential. “Carol’s and my goal is to make Holy Cross one of the most desirable colleges in the nation,” Smith says.
“Holy Cross is unique, special in many ways. The Jesuits, professors and administration are dedicated to their calling, to the students, and to their profession. They address both the spiritual and intellectual growth of the students,” he says.
Smith adds that his gift reflects in part the Jesuit credo – “men and women for others.” Citing the benefits he gained from the discipline at Holy Cross, Smith hopes the new building will be instrumental in producing tomorrow’s Christian leadership. “We all know in our hearts there’s no finer liberal arts education in America,” says Smith.
“Park and Carol’s gift is monumental to Holy Cross in several vital ways,” says Frank Vellaccio, acting president of Holy Cross. “Their tremendous generosity allows us to adhere to Graham Gund’s original architectural design, creating a magnificent, signature building at the center of our campus,” Vellaccio continues.
“Not only is this the largest ever donation to Holy Cross, it is our first eight-figure gift,” states Vellaccio. “Park and Carol’s immense generosity shows the impact that a principal gift can have on our beloved college.”
In 1997, the Smiths contributed $1.5 million to Holy Cross for the construction of the Carol and Park B. Smith Wellness Center, a state-of-the-art fitness and training facility that is a two-level addition to the Hart Recreation Center.
Smith is the owner of Park B. Smith, Ltd., with corporate offices located in New York. As a leading importer and wholesaler of home fashion products, his company emphasizes the creation of a safer global environment and education for the consumer regarding environmentally safe products for the home. Manufacturing plants for the company are located in India and they employ more than 35,000 weavers, dyers and sewers.
Major department store chains in all 50 states carry Eco-ordinates, the exclusive environmentally-aware home products of Park B. Smith, Ltd. These all-cotton, naturally dyed items include bedding, window treatments, area and accent rugs, placemats and other kitchen accessories. The products are also widely distributed in Europe, Puerto Rico, South America and Canada.
Smith is also a connoisseur and avid collector of fine wines. In 1999 he and his partners opened a restaurant in New York City that features 1,450 different selections of wine, the largest collection ever presented in a restaurant. In a groundbreaking move, the business placed its wine list on the Internet. Diners are able to call ahead so the wine staff can decant a selected wine prior to the guests’ arrival.
The New York Times published a three-star review on the restaurant, Veritas, a mere three months after its opening. Veritas is also a finalist in the national James Beard Award for the best new restaurant in the entire country for 1999. The final decision is due in May.
By his generosity to Holy Cross Smith is also hoping to trigger support among other alumni.
“Our fervent hope is that our gift will raise the bar and encourage alumni to do more than they ever have to date,” he emphasizes.
Giving back to the school that gave him so much is top priority for Park Smith.
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