Born in Colorado to two parents with PhDs, Mr. Smith trained as an engineer at Cornell University, earning his BS in Chemical Engineering.
Mr. Smith’s business achievements and global philanthropic works have received recognition from numerous entities – including the Morehouse Candle Award in Business and Philanthropy, the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Chair’s Award, the Reginald F. Lewis Achievement Award, the Humanitarian of the Year Award from the Robert Toigo Foundation, the Ripple of Hope Award from the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights, the Award of Excellence from the National Association of Investment Companies, the Pierre Toussaint Award from the Archdiocese of New York, the Columbia University BBSA Distinguished Alumni Award, and the Ron Brown Scholar Program American Journey Award.
Mr. Smith is the founding director and President of the Fund II Foundation, which is dedicated to preserving the African American experience, safeguarding human rights, providing music education, preserving the environment while promoting the benefits of the outdoors, and sustaining critical American values.
In January 2016, Cornell University honored Mr. Smith’s leadership by naming the Robert Frederick Smith School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering.
Mr. Smith is the Chairman of Carnegie Hall and the Chair of the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights.