Community college philanthropists Gordon and Mary Beth Smith honored with 2019 Chancellor’s Award

Charlottesville resident Mary Beth Smyth, and her late husband Gordon, have received the 14th Annual Chancellor’s Award for Leadership in Philanthropy. The Smyths were nominated for the award by Piedmont Virginia Community College. The award was presented at a special ceremony in Richmond on Tuesday, April 16, 2019.

Hosted by the Virginia Foundation for Community College Education, the annual event recognizes outstanding leaders who have helped support Virginia’s Community Colleges and their respective foundations. The Smyths were among more than two dozen individuals, families and businesses from around Virginia to be nominated for this prestigious award. This year’s class of distinguished philanthropy leaders has contributed a combined total of more than $18 million dollars to Virginia’s Community Colleges. As part of the award, each college will be given funds for the Commonwealth Legacy Scholarship, to be named in honor of the college’s 2019 Chancellor’s Award recipient.

“PVCC is thrilled to nominate Gordon and Mary Beth Smyth as the recipients of the 2019 Chancellor’s Award for Leadership in Philanthropy,” said PVCC President Frank Friedman. “We are pleased to honor Gordon and Mary Beth for their extraordinary generosity and distinguished service to our college and our community. The Smyths have greatly enhanced the educational opportunities available for residents in Nelson County, Charlottesville, and the surrounding region in Central Virginia by investing in students, teachers and innovative programs. The Smyth Foundation has invested significantly in PVCC through initiatives including the Smyth Scholarship for Nursing, the Network2Work Program and the Greene County Early College Scholars Program. We are grateful for their belief in PVCC’s mission and for the many ways in which their generosity continues to benefit our students and our community.”    

Donald Graham, keynote speaker and Chairman of the Board at Graham Holdings Company and Co-Founder of TheDream.US, spoke about the importance of Virginia’s community colleges and the ways that the philanthropists have contributed to the Commonwealth.

“We are in this room today to tell you, whether you work for one of the colleges or have given to one of the colleges, that what you are doing is absolutely right,” Graham said during his remarks.

Recipients of the 2019 Chancellor’s Award for Leadership in Philanthropy by community college:

BLUE RIDGE:  Dr. and Mrs. Kenneth D. Bowman
CENTRAL VIRGINIA: Donna Schewel Clark Charitable Lead Annuity Trust
DABNEY S. LANCASTER: Stephen and Donna Vaughn
DANVILLE:  Danville Kiwanis Club Foundation, Lions Club of Danville Foundation
EASTERN SHORE: Tom and Page Young*
GERMANNA:  Mary Jane Pitts O’Neill
J SARGEANT REYNOLDS:  Mitchell F. Haddon and Sabine Neumann
JOHN TYLER:  Amsted Industries
LORD FAIRFAX:  The Jenkins Family – Russell, Elta Rae, Rodney and Karen
MOUNTAIN EMPIRE:  Ralph T. and Shirley M. Fisher
NEW RIVER:  Dr. and Mrs. Lee Wheeler
NORTHERN VIRGINIA:   Dr. Glenn Fatzinger
PATRICK HENRY:  The Harvest Foundation
PAUL D CAMP:  Charles R. Henderson, Jr., Bank of America Foundation    
PIEDMONT:  H. Gordon* and Mary Beth Smyth
RAPPAHANNOCK:  Rick and Sue Farmar
SOUTHSIDE:   Microsoft            
SOUTHWEST:   Mary W. Lawson
THOMAS NELSON:  Newport News Shipbuilding
TIDEWATER:  Stanley Black & Decker
VIRGINIA HIGHLANDS:  David and Schéry Collins
VIRGINIA WESTERN:  Maury and Shiela Strauss Family
WYTHEVILLE:  Floyd and Hilda Jonas
VFCCE:  The Petters Family Foundation

*honored posthumously

To learn more about giving opportunities at Piedmont Virginia Community College, visit or call 434.961.5226.