Xavier University’s Founders’ Day Award dinner honors individuals whose outstanding contributions to Xavier help the University better serve students and society. On Thursday, September 23, Stephen S. Smith, Xavier graduate and member of Xavier’s Board of Trustees, will be honored at the 2010 Founders’ Day celebration.
The event will also celebrate the opening of the James E. Hoff, S.J. Academic Quad which includes the new Stephen S. and Dolores Smith Hall, home to the Williams College of Business, and the Michael J. Conaton 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., an industrial town east of Lancaster, Pa., where he attended Lancaster Catholic High School. He chose Xavier because of its Catholic heritage and because of its reputation, even in the early 1960s, for having a better business school than the Catholic universities around Philadelphia. In the summers, he successfully sold pots and pans door to door as an independent distributor for Wear-Ever in his father’s regional sales territory.
Smith earned a Bachelor of Business Administration in Applied Economics in 1968 and went to work for the Janney, Battles & E.W. Clark brokerage firm in York, Pa. He advanced through several investment firms, including as founding partner of Munsch and Smith Management from 1980-1984, before joining Brandywine Asset Management in Wilmington, Del., in 1991.
Smith managed the firm 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.
He reconnected with Xavier in the early 1990s when a former classmate, Dennis Riley, invited him to a basketball game with other alumni. It was just one game, but Smith was hooked. In 1996, he joined the President’s Advisory Council as the representative for the Williams College of Business, under the leadership of President James E. Hoff, S.J. 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 Hoff’s and President Michael J. Graham, S.J.,’s emphasis on Xavier’s mission to educate the whole person, Smith and his wife, Dolores, have been generous to Xavier in other ways as well. They give to Xavier every year as members of the 1831 Society. In 1996, they established the Stephen S. and Dolores Smith Endowed Scholarship.
The Smiths also made the lead gift for construction of the new building for the Williams College of Business, which carries their names, and have provided the 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, which provides services for abused and neglected children, in Ambler, Pa., and the Winterthur Museum & Country Estate, a nonprofit, educational institution in Winterthur, Del. He has chaired the finance committee at his home parish, St. Anthony’s.
It is for this leadership and the generosity bestowed upon Xavier by both Stephen and Dolores Smith that Stephen S. Smith is this year’s recipient of the 2010 Founders’ Day Award.