CSU receives $13M gift from entrepreneur alumnus Michael Smith

Friday April 29, 2016 0 comments Tags: Fort Collins, CSU, Michael and Iris Smith, Tony Frank, John Hayes, Beth Walker, Brett Anderson

FORT COLLINS -- Colorado State University announced alumnus Michael Smith has made a series of donations to the university that will fund new scholarships focused on business, natural resources and chemistry, complete funding for a new natural resources building in the Warner College of Natural Resources, and contribute to the funding of the new on-campus stadium.Smiths.FIXED

Smith is chairman and chief executive of Freeport LNG, which is completing an LNG export facility based in the port of Freeport, Tex. Prior to Freeport, Smith was chairman and chief executive of Basin Exploration, a Colorado-based E&P company he founded in 1981 in Fort Collins and sold to Stone Energy in 2001.

“Michael Smith is a brilliant, visionary business leader who, with this gift, has extended that vision to Colorado State University,” said CSU President Tony Frank.

“We are humbled by his generosity and profoundly inspired by what we believe this will do for our students, alumni, and academic programs.

“The breadth and reach of the generosity from Michael and Iris Smith is truly unparalleled, with the potential for a transformative impact on three of our top academic colleges and our new on-campus stadium currently under construction.”

“I owe much of my success to the education I received at CSU and the combination of strong science and mathematics that enabled me to learn the oil-and-gas business,” said Smith.

“My career has been built around the opportunity this country’s energy business has spawned, and I hope my gifts help CSU to continue providing a premier education to generations of geologists, chemists and business leaders.” 

The $13 million gift will include:

• A $5 million gift to create 50 full-tuition scholarships in the College of Business, in honor of the College’s 50th anniversary – 13 endowed Michael Smith Elite Business Scholars awards and 37 Michael Smith 50th Anniversary Scholarship awards.
• A $3.7 million gift to complete funding to build the Michael Smith Natural Resources Building in the Warner College of Natural Resources.
• A $3.5 million gift to the new multipurpose on-campus stadium project; the Michael & Iris Smith Alumni Center within the stadium will be home to the University’s 205,000 living alumni. 
• A $400,000 gift to create 10 full-tuition Michael Smith Scholarships in the Department of Geosciences in the Warner College of Natural Resources.
• A $400,000 gift to create 10 full-tuition Michael Smith Scholarships in the Department of Chemistry in the College of Natural Sciences.

“We are grateful for the time and attention Michael Smith already has shared with our students, who are just in awe of his achievements and insight,” said College of Business Dean Beth Walker.

“This gift is another outstanding demonstration of his leadership and commitment to investing in the next generation of business professionals."

The Michael Smith Natural Resources Building will be a new, LEED-certified facility for the Warner College of Natural Resources. The student-centric, interdisciplinary building will expand capacity for natural resources and environmental education, enhance collaborative research and policy, and amplify the Warner College’s legacy of excellence and leadership.

Smith’s donation is the final gift needed to secure the $20 million in private and public funding support necessary to break ground.

“Michael Smith’s gift really opens the doors to the future of Warner College,” said Dean John Hayes. “It’s a powerful commitment to both exceptional learning facilities and academic excellence in the geosciences.

“We are deeply appreciative of his thoughtfulness and his strong belief in the importance and potential of our College.”

“This tremendous gift propels us into the future and sets us on solid footing in so many areas at CSU,” said Brett Anderson, VP for University Advancement.

“The massive impact that Michael’s incredible generosity will have on the student experience while they are here and when they become alumni is immeasurable. We want to thank him for believing in and investing in this University – and for his continued commitment to excellence for Colorado State University.”