As a businessman, engineer, and philanthropist, Robert F. Smith has been invited to speak on a wide range of issues.
On October 26, 2023, Robert F. Smith delivered an acceptance speech at the George H.W. Bush Points of Light Awards. Smith recognized the many other outstanding individuals who received the award. In addition, Smith spoke about his childhood in Denver, CO, and how it inspired him to create windows of opportunity for others, especially in underserved communities. He praised the many often unrecognized Points of Light in his community who helped shape his life and many others.
On August 26, 2023, thousands gathered in Washington, D.C. to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom and remember the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. During the anniversary celebration, Robert F. Smith delivered a speech that highlighted the ongoing barriers to economic equity that Black Americans face. Smith also urged Black Americans to take action by using their voices, votes and funds to achieve parity.
In a speech to the 2019 graduating class, Robert F. Smith surprised the audience by committing to pay off the student loan debt of the entire class.
Watch Robert F. Smith’s acceptance speech of the Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy, which was awarded to him in 2019 in part for his philanthropic donation to Morehouse 2019 graduating class and the impact it had in making college more affordable for students at the historically black university.
Robert F. Smith, Founder, Chairman and CEO of Vista Equity Partners, was invited to give the commencement address at American University’s Spring 2015 graduation ceremony held on May 10, 2015. Smith highlighted the opportunities available to students today that were not possible for people in their parents’ or grandparents’ generations, and mentioned how advancements in technology have opened doors for this graduating class that will change their lives.
Denver native Robert F. Smith, who is the Founder, Chairman and CEO of Vista Equity Partners, was invited to give the commencement address at the University of Denver’s Spring 2017 graduation ceremony held on June 9, 2017. Smith’s speech included messages reminding graduates that their education has given them the qualities necessary to inspire change, and quoting Frederick Douglass, “education … means emancipation.” He encouraged students to use the knowledge and power they have gained while earning their degrees to be purposeful, hopeful, and stubborn in their values. In addition to being a hometown hero in Denver, Smith is also the son of a University of Denver graduate. His father received his EdD from the University of Denver.
Robert F. Smith, Founder, Chairman and CEO of Vista Equity Partners, was honored at Carnegie Hall for the World Values Network’s 8th Annual Jewish Awards Gala Dinner. In his speech, Smith, who has been the Chairman of Carnegie Hall since 2016, touched on the importance of allyship between African American and Jewish communities, the shared values between those communities, and how the history of each of those heritages has shaped the history of the United States.