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  News from the Hill    
         
   

Holy Cross Receives $10 Million Gift

Largest in College’s History

Park B. Smith, a 1954 graduate of Holy Cross, and 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 on May 6, during a groundbreaking ceremony for the building. It will be named Carol and Park B. Smith Hall.

The 56,000 square foot building 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. Smith Hall will be located behind and connected to Fenwick Hall. Construction began in May with a target completion date of summer 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.”

“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, place mats and other kitchen accessories. The products are 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 was a finalist in the national James Beard Award competition for the best new restaurant in the entire country for 1999.

Through his generosity to Holy Cross, Smith is also hoping to trigger support among other alumni. “Our fervent hope,” Smith says, “is that our gift will raise the bar and encourage alumni to do more than they ever have to date.”

Giving back to the school that gave him so much is top priority for Park Smith.

The Center for Religion, Ethics and Culture

Smith Hall will be located in the geographic heart of the Holy Cross campus, on the hillside that separates Fenwick and O’Kane halls from the Hogan Campus Center. It will connect the lower campus, where much of the academic life occurs, and the upper campus, where much of the social and residential life takes place. An ongoing commitment of Holy Cross is to bridge the academic, spiritual and social lives of students. By its location and the nature of what it houses, Smith Hall will clearly serve this vital purpose.

Within the new building, the Center for Religion, Ethics and Culture will serve as a site for dialogue within the Holy Cross community and as a resource for other institutions of higher learning that take seriously the relationship between faith and intellect and between education and service to others. It will help Holy Cross fulfill its mission by creating a meeting ground for all educators who are interested in making religion, ethics and moral questions an integral part of undergraduate education.

“It will encourage dialogue about fundamental religious and philosophical questions facing all people of faith, questions at the heart of liberal arts education,” says David J. O’Brien, Loyola Professor of Roman Catholic Studies and director of the new Center.

“Holy Cross is uniquely positioned to provide national leadership in a growing national movement to integrate questions of meaning, value and public purpose into undergraduate education, and the Center represents a major investment in this effort,” says O’Brien.

 

Park B. and Carol Smith

Park B. and Carol Smith

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