March 01, 2011

Kelvin and Eleanor Smith Foundation Commits $7 Million to Support University Center Project

The Kelvin and Eleanor Smith Foundation has made a $7 million commitment to Case Western Reserve University to support the university center project on campus.

Kelvin & Eleanor Smith Foundation
Board members of the Kelvin and Eleanor Smith Foundation
(from left) Charles Bolton, J.T. Mullen, Ellen Stirn Mavec and Bill
La Place met with President Barbara R. Snyder (center) to
support the commitment.

“My grandparents were very elegant people, and they cared deeply for others,” said Ellen Stirn Mavec, president of the Kelvin and Eleanor Smith Foundation. “They really wanted to help people find their dreams and make them happen. They would be excited about the possibility of a central place on campus that brings people together for conversation and to enjoy one another.” (Watch video now.)

The foundation’s past support to the university has included the Kelvin Smith Library, which was dedicated in 1996. The foundation was established in 1955 and supports non-profit institutions that adhere to excellence in their mission, creativity in approach and fiscal responsibility, while making a difference in Cleveland.

“The Kelvin and Eleanor Smith Foundation already has helped transform our university with its previous support,” President Barbara R. Snyder said. “We are honored by this additional commitment to a project that has great potential to enhance the sense of community on our campus.”

A. Kelvin Smith, who died in 1984, was a co-founder of the Ohio-based specialty chemical company Lubrizol Corp. in Wickliffe, about 12 miles east of Cleveland. He was a 1920 graduate of Dartmouth College and a 1922 graduate of what was then the Case School of Applied Sciences.

He received an honorary doctorate from the Case Institute of Technology in 1947, where he served as a trustee from 1966 until the following year, when he became a charter trustee at the newly federated Case Western Reserve University. In 1976, he and his brother Kent Smith shared the university’s alumni achievement award.
Kelvin Smith was a trustee of numerous institutions, including University Hospitals, the Cleveland Health Museum and the Musical Arts Association, where he was a substantial contributor to the development and construction of Blossom Music Center.

Eleanor Armstrong Smith, who died in 1998, was a graduate of Smith College. Kelvin and Eleanor’s daughter, Lucia Nash, was a long-time trustee of Case Western Reserve University.

The university center project was announced last May with a lead $20 million gift from the Veale Foundation to name the center for its founder, Case Institute of Technology alumnus Tinkham Veale II. For more information, visit

Posted by: Emily Mayock, March 1, 2011 09:04 AM | News Topics: Campus Life

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