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Smith Receives $50 Million for Financial Aid, Careers

News of Note

Gift is largest in college's history from an individual donor

Grecourt Gate emblem against blue sky

Published October 7, 2020

Smith College has received a $50 million gift to its endowment to transform and support financial aid and career development programs.

The gift—from an alumna who wishes to remain anonymous—is the largest gift from an individual donor in Smith’s history. The gift was made through a private foundation.

In announcing the gift, Smith College President Kathleen McCartney noted that the donor has designated $40 million for student financial aid and $10 million to re-envision the college’s career development programs.

“I could not be more grateful for this alumna’s generosity, vision and belief in the power of a Smith education,” McCartney said. “Her investment in the college will allow us to make a giant stride in equalizing the Smith experience for students from low- and middle-income backgrounds.”

In making the gift, the alumna donor said, “Smith had a meaningful impact on my life, both personally and professionally, and I feel an obligation to pay it back.”

McCartney noted that the gift brings Smith closer to its goal of “need-blind” admissions—that is, the ability to admit qualified students without regard to family circumstances. “It is my deepest wish,” McCartney wrote in announcing the gift, “that this alumna’s generosity will inspire others to help the college reach this goal.”

Smith’s financial aid program is one of the most generous in the nation. In 2019-20 Smith awarded more than $80 million in federal, state and college aid to 69% percent of its students. Smith is one of a very small number of institutions that meets the full demonstrated need of all students who comply with financial aid deadlines.

About Smith College

Founded in 1871, Smith College educates women of promise for lives of distinction, developing leaders for society’s challenges. One of the largest women’s liberal arts colleges in the United States, Smith enrolls more than 2,500 undergraduates from nearly every state and more than 70 other countries.