ITHACA, N.Y.—Cornell University received a $15 million gift to form an undergraduate scholarship fund and graduate student fellowship for students coming to Cornell from urban high schools or going to Cornell from historical black colleges and universities. The funding will support students in Cornell’s Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) programs.

The multimillion-dollar gift comes from Robert F. Smith, who graduated from Cornell in 1985 with a degree in chemical engineering. Smith is the founder and CEO of Vista Equity Partners. His net worth, according to Forbes, is $6.7 billion, making him the richest black person in America.

“My hope is that these funds will elevate more students and afford them the opportunity to attend my alma mater and pursue careers in STEM, as well as continue to support the diverse pipeline of extraordinary talent that Cornell produces,” Smith said in an interview with the Cornell Chronicle

The fund will provide seven undergraduates annually with up to $45,000 in grants, and support 12 master’s students and five doctoral students. The funding will also go toward sending students to national conferences among other opportunities. 

Jimmy Jordan

Jimmy Jordan is a general assignment reporter for the Ithaca Voice. Questions? Story tips? Contact him at jjordan@ithacavoice.com Connect with him on Twitter @jmmy_jrdn