Two gifts provide $3 million for academics, athletics at Paul Smith's College

PAUL SMITHS, NY (02/09/2015)(readMedia)-- Three longtime benefactors have given a pair of gifts worth $3 million to Paul Smith's College, in support of academic as well as athletic and recreation programs on campus.

E. Philip Saunders, the chairman of the college's Board of Trustees, has donated $2 million to go toward athletics and recreation programs as well as renovations of the college's athletics center; Joan and Sanford Weill have given an additional $1 million that will support program development, enrollment and other college operations.

"We needed no proof of the generosity of Phil Saunders and the Weills, whose past gifts have helped the college fulfill its promise of delivering a truly life-changing educational experience for our students," said Cathy S. Dove, president of Paul Smith's College. "These latest gifts continue their legacies and help reinforce our commitment to students, and we are so grateful for their support."

Over half of Saunders' $2 million gift will bolster Paul Smith's athletics and recreation programs; the remainder will go toward improvements in the Saunders Sports Complex, which bears his name.

"Our primary mission at Paul Smith's is to give students from all backgrounds an education that opens doors to great possibilities," Saunders said. "Sports and recreation programs complement the great academic experience provided at Paul Smith's by providing students critical lessons such as the value of competition, leadership and perseverance. I'm pleased to help more students make this part of their Paul Smith's experience."

The Weills' $1 million gift will support program development and new enrollment initiatives at the college.

"Paul Smith's College is near to our hearts," said Joan Weill, an emeritus member of the college's Board of Trustees and a former chairwoman. "It is an institution that embraces its students, giving each and every one who enters the chance to transform their lives. We're very excited about the college's future and the leadership that President Dove has shown since arriving just five months ago."

The gifts come on the heels of several other fundraising milestones at Paul Smith's. The $2 million Frank M. Hutchins Scholarship endowment, the largest scholarship gift in Paul Smith's history, was announced in September. The college also recently completed a $2 million campaign to endow two faculty chairs: The Endowed Chair in Lake Ecology and Paleoecology funded largely through gifts from Caroline Lussi and her family, and the Paolozzi Endowed Chair in Environmental Science.

Both the Weills and Saunders have made significant gifts to Paul Smith's College in the past. The Weills gave $1 million to scholarships in 2012 and provided significant support to both the college library and student center, each of which bear Joan Weill's name.

In addition to his previous support of the athletics complex, Saunders has also supported the Endowed Chair in Environmental Science within the Adirondack Watershed Institute, student scholarships, and the creation of the John W. Mills and Meg Balassone-Mills Scholarship.

Saunders, who began serving on the college's board in 1991, has been chairman since 2010. Joan Weill served on the college's board from 1992 to 2011 and was chairwoman from 2005 to 2010.


At Paul Smith's College, it's about the experience. Paul Smith's, which was founded in 1946, is the only bachelor's degree-granting institution of higher education in the Adirondacks. Our programs – in fields including hospitality, culinary arts, forestry, natural resources and the sciences – draw on industries and resources available in our own backyard while preparing students for successful careers anywhere. For more information: