Xavier University’s annual Founders’ Day Award winner this year is Stephen S. Smith, a 1968 business school graduate who has been a member of the Xavier University Board of Trustees since 2005 and a generous contributor of his time and resources to the University. Smith was honored during the annual Founders' Day Award celebration on Thursday, Sept. 23, on the Xavier campus.
The Founders’ Day Award honors individuals whose outstanding contributions to Xavier help the University better serve students and society. A longtime supporter of Xavier, Smith’s lead gift to the University’s building campaign paved the way for construction of the new building for the Williams College of Business.
The Founders’ Day event also celebrates the opening of the James E. Hoff, S.J., Academic Quad, which includes the Michael J. Conaton Learning Commons and Stephen and Dolores Smith Hall—the new home of the Williams College of Business. The event took place in the Learning Commons.
While he was a student at Xavier, Smith learned there was more to education than book knowledge, that operating with moral and ethical principles was equally as important. It was, he says, the Jesuits who helped him build upon this personal belief that guided him throughout his remarkable career in the investment industry.
It’s also what led him back to Xavier, both as a member of the Board of Trustees and as a leader in the effort to keep Xavier at the forefront of excellence in business education.
Smith grew up in Columbia, Pa., and chose Xavier because of its Catholic heritage and for the reputation of its business school. He earned a bachelor’s degree in applied economics in 1968 and went to work in the investment industry. He joined Brandywine Asset Management in Wilmington, Del., in 1991 as its manager and introduced a new investment product—a global bond strategy to diversify the product mix. The firm grew its asset base to $7 billion and in 1998 was sold to Legg Mason.
Today, the firm has over $30 billion in assets with $25 billion invested in the global bond strategy, and Smith is the co-lead portfolio manager for Brandywine Global Investment Management’s fixed income division.
Smith reconnected with Xavier in the early 1990s when he attended a basketball game and in 1996, he joined the President’s Advisory Council as the representative for the Williams College of Business. In 2005, Smith became a member of Xavier’s Board of Trustees and continues serving the University in that role. He also serves as chair of the board’s investment committee and has been a member of various other committees of the board.
Inspired by Xavier’s emphasis on its mission to educate the whole person, Smith and his wife, Dolores, have been generous to Xavier in other ways as well. They established the Stephen S. and Dolores Smith Endowed Scholarship in 1996 which they continue to fund. In addition to his gift for the new business school building, Smith has provided Bloomberg financial data terminals in the college for the student investment fund and student research.
Smith’s generosity extends beyond Xavier as well. He is a former member of the board of trustees of St. Mary's Villa for Children and Families in Ambler, Pa., and the Winterthur Museum & Country Estate, a nonprofit, educational institution in Winterthur, Del. And he has chaired the finance committee at his home parish, St. Anthony’s.