Paul Smith's College receives $1 million gift for scholarships

Longtime benefactor Joan Weill establishes endowed scholarship fund

PAUL SMITHS, NY (05/05/2012)(readMedia)-- Philanthropist Joan H. Weill will endow a $1 million scholarship fund at Paul Smith's College, officials announced Saturday.

The gift was announced during the college's Commencement exercises, at which Weill was the featured speaker.

The scholarship represents a significant addition to the college's endowment, which stood at $19.3 million before the gift. The first scholarships under the $1 million endowment will be awarded for the fall 2013 semester.

"Joan's generosity has truly transformed this institution," said Dr. John W. Mills, president of Paul Smith's College. "A gift like this holds the promise of making higher education accessible to students who would otherwise have trouble achieving their dreams. That mission has always been at the core of Paul Smith's College, and I'm so thrilled that Joan has once again taken a lead role in helping us do more."

Weill has made several significant contributions to Paul Smith's College. Two campus buildings, the Joan Weill Adirondack Library and Joan Weill Student Center, bear her name; as a member of the college's board of trustees, she provided key leadership when Paul Smith's began offering bachelor's degrees in 2000. Also during her tenure, residence halls were added to campus and labs and classrooms were significantly upgraded.

Weill served on the college's board of trustees from 1992 until 2011, and was chairman of the board from 2005 to 2010. She remains an emeritus trustee of Paul Smith's. She is also involved in several other organizations: Weill chairs the Alvin Ailey American Dance Foundation and the Women's Health Symposium at New York Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, and is co-chair of the Weill Music Institute at Carnegie Hall.

At Commencement on Saturday, she urged graduates to find their passion and jump in with both feet. "Get involved in your community," Weill said. "Have a passion that you can lend your intelligence and energy to. Even if you are not able to give financially, don't be afraid to make meaningful commitments, be involved and live in the moment."

The Commencement exercises honored approximately 250 members of the Class of 2012. They are the college's 65th graduating class. The first class at Paul Smith's graduated in 1948.

About Paul Smith's College

At Paul Smith's College, it's about the experience. Our programs, in fields including hospitality, culinary arts, forestry, natural resources, entrepreneurship and the sciences, draw on industries and resources available in our own backyard while preparing students for successful careers anywhere.