Robert F. Smith has long been an advocate for increasing diversity in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) careers and education. A graduate of Cornell University’s College of Engineering, where he studied chemical engineering, Smith has supported his alma mater’s efforts
to uplift women and African American engineering students. His $50 million in contributions to Cornell’s Engineering School currently support at least seven undergraduate students a year from underrepresented populations pursuing STEM degrees, as well as 12 masters and five doctoral students. He recently contributed $15 million to the school
to support student aid for students from urban high schools and for Cornell graduate students who completed their undergraduate degrees at HBCUs.