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
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
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
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
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
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.