New Scholarship Fund to Support Grads from Historically Black Colleges and Others

Robert F. Smith
Robert F. Smith (courtesy of Columbia Business School)

Students applying to Columbia Business School will have access to a new scholarship fund in the 2022–23 academic year, thanks to a $10 million gift from Robert F. Smith ’94BUS, the founder, chairman, and CEO of Vista Equity Partners.

The Robert F. Smith ’94 Scholarship Fund, which is expected to support approximately two hundred MBA students through partial or full scholarships over the next ten years, will be awarded to students who have graduated from historically Black colleges and universities, who have overcome systemic hardships or challenges in their academic pursuits, or who have demonstrated a strong commitment to engaging diversity.

“Robert Smith is to be commended for supporting talented students who have been underrepresented in higher education and for his sustained commitment to expanding access to the nation’s colleges and universities,” says President Lee C. Bollinger. “His generous gift serves as a fitting declaration of the values to be embraced by the future of business education at Columbia.”

The new scholarship fund is part of an ongoing effort by Columbia Business School to increase the diversity of its student body. In recent years, the school has provided mentoring to high-school students from underserved communities who are considering careers in business; expanded financial aid; and created a new senior-leadership position — a vice dean of diversity, equity, and inclusion — to coordinate such efforts.