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  • SC Learning Commons to be Named for Benefactor


    SPRINGFIELD — During his lifetime, Rev. Harold C. Smith, D.Div., dedicated himself and his many gifts to Springfield College. Mary-Beth A. Cooper, Springfield College president, announced today that, to celebrate his rich legacy, the college will name its newly reconstructed learning commons to honor his memory and the many ways in which he helped Springfield College grow and prosper.

    Smith passed away March 21, 2017, in New York City, at the age of 83.

    “Harold had a passion for Springfield College and for the YMCA,” said Cooper. “His life’s work will live on in this learning commons and in the lives of our students who will study and research there.”

    Smith was a valued member of the Springfield College Board of Trustees for more than three decades, and served as chair of the board’s investment committee for 25 of those years, as well as on the executive committee, and the committee on business affairs. Under his leadership, and through his investment expertise and strategy, the college’s endowment experienced unprecedented growth through a diverse portfolio.

    Smith was recognized for his dedication and commitment to serving others in the Springfield College tradition when he was awarded the Springfield College Honorary Doctor of Humanics degree in 1998. He was a member of the college Naismith Giving Society, which recognizes donors who have given more than $1 million during their lifetime. He is enshrined in the YMCA Hall of Fame located on the college campus.

    The Harold C. Smith Learning Commons will be dedicated when the building is opened later this year to honor the man who studied for the ministry, but went on to become the president and chief investment officer of the YMCA Retirement Fund.

    Reflecting 21st century library innovations, the learning commons will become the heart of the college’s academic program, providing beautiful facilities where students and faculty can study, research, work in groups, and receive writing and other academic support.

    Renovations of the college’s 45-year-old library began in August 2016, and the new facility will include a 24-hour reading room, a café, a technology hub designed to promote collaboration between research and information technology, and will be home to the college’s Academic Success Center.

    Smith was a dedicated philanthropist and volunteer throughout his lifetime and volunteered for the League of Women Voters, the Interfaith Committee of Trumbull, and the Bridgeport Area Foundation. He was a trustee of the YMCA Retirement Fund, YMCA Greater Bridgeport, and Ursinus College; and a board member of the YMCA of Greater New York, Bank Mart, and Y-Mutual Insurance.

    Born in the Bronx, Smith was an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ, and held a bachelor’s degree and Doctor of Divinity degree from Ursinus College, a Master of Divinity from Union Theological Seminary, and a Master of Business Administration from New York University. He was a Chartered Financial Analyst, a member of the New York Society of Security Analysts and a member of the American Economics Association. Mr. Smith had a 40-year dual career in ministry and investments.

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