Smith, U.Va. alum and Wise native, follows up on earlier gift
At Wise Receives Largest Gift Ever, A $3 Million Pledge To Complete
April 24, 2002-- The University
of Virginias College at Wise today received its largest gift
ever, a $3 million pledge earmarked for the completion of the schools
gift, announced today by University President John T. Casteen III,
is being given through the Richmond-based Community Foundations
fund as advised by Carl W. Smith of Charlottesville. Smith is the
founder of AMVEST Corp., an international company specializing in
coal mining, natural gas production and finance.
1997, Smith, a native of Wise and a U.Va. alumnus who has been a
longtime supporter of the University, pledged $25 million to the
Universitys athletics department. The bulk of Smiths
unrestricted gift -- $23 million -- was used to expand Scott Stadium
in Charlottesville. The remaining $2 million was for construction
of phase one of the first football stadium at U.Va.s College
at Wise in Southwest Virginia. It included construction of the field
and extensive site preparation for phase two.
football complexes have been named for Smith, who was a lineman
on the U.Va. football team in the late 1940s and early 50s.
Smiths commitment to the University of Virginia is deeply
ingrained, beginning some 50 years ago when he came to Charlottesville
from Wise County as a scholarship football player," Casteen
said. "Since then, he has been one of the Universitys
most generous benefactors, looking to support both academics and
athletics. We continue to be overwhelmed by his generosity."
and his wife, Hunter J. Smith, have supported many University endeavors
over the years. Previous gifts have been to the schools of architecture,
law, medicine, and business, the Childrens Medical Center,
and the Jefferson Scholars program.
recent gift, intended to complete the Carl Smith Stadium at Wise,
will cover stadium seating, lighting, restrooms, concession areas
and a field house. Construction is expected to begin this spring
and reach completion by September 2003. Early plans include having
2,600 new seats and the lights in place for the season opener this
College at Wise deserved to have a first-rate field for its football
program," Smith said. "The school has done a fine job
moving up in the academic rankings, and Im pleased to be able
to have had something to do with helping them to improve in the
the football field, the school has enjoyed seven consecutive winning
seasons. Academically, it ranks ninth among the nation's top public
liberal arts colleges in the U.S. News rankings.
H. Kaplan, chancellor of the College at Wise, said that it is thanks
to Smiths vision that the field, which sits on one of the
most picturesque sites on campus, will soon be completed. "Carl
and Hunter's gift to complete the Carl Smith Stadium is a profound
testament to their unwavering commitment to U.Va.-Wise and its future,"
he said. "As the largest gift in the Colleges history,
it truly will transform our athletics programs as we move to make
the entire stadium area into an athletics precinct."
his career, Smith has remained close to the University, as well
as to his hometown roots. Wise was home to his late grandfather,
a prominent lawyer for whom Smith and his family endowed the Universitys
O.M. Vicars Professorship in Law in 1982.
also is home to the College at Wise, founded in 1954 as a two-year
institution to serve Southwest Virginia. It has since grown into
a broad-based, four-year liberal arts college with 1,500 students,
and is the Universitys only branch campus. Over the past decade,
Smith has made a number of gifts to help support the schools
football program, and in 1994 the school honored him with a student
award in his name. The Carl W. Smith Award for Excellence is given
each year to a senior football player who has demonstrated excellence
in personal integrity, citizenship, academics, and athletics, and
who serves as a role model for Southwest Virginia.
importance of the well-rounded student is something Vicars ingrained
in his grandson. "My grandfather wanted to educate everyone
he knew, family and otherwise, because education was that important
to him," Smith said. "The first time he saw a picture
of me in a newspaper I was in a football uniform, and his comment
was, Well, it looks like Carl is educating his feet instead
of his head."
took those words to heart, and as a student of economics at U.Va.,
he learned quickly the need to balance his time between a quiet
corner of Alderman Library and the playing field in Scott Stadium.
he made his $25 million gift five years ago he said: "I think
the University is going about this in the right way. Many schools
put sports first as they aim for national standings in athletics.
Here, academic programs have consistently been ranked among the
best in the country. Our sports programs are now following their
universitys goals include achieving excellence in a broad
spectrum of sports, and that includes team sports as well as club
sports and intramurals. I hope this will encourage others to step
forward to support all athletics programs at U.Va."
Smiths graduation from the College of Arts and Sciences in
1951, he served in the Army and worked as an investment banker.
In 1961, he founded the Charlottesville-based AMVEST Corp. He served
on the Universitys Board of Visitors from 1980 to 1988.
Carol Wood, (434) 924-6189