Bulletin News

Professor’s Final Gift Continues Legacy


The late Lawrence Smith, associate professor emeritus of mathematics, spent 33 years teaching difficult concepts to SUNY Cortland students.

Now, thanks to a $125,000 bequest, he will continue educating students forever.

Smith, who died Jan. 17, 2013, left a portion of his estate to the Cortland College Foundation, which plans to use the funds to endow the Faculty Senate’s annual scholarship.

The Faculty Senate must still decide many details about the scholarship, a $1,000 annual award that is jointly funded by the senate and the foundation. Smith’s bequest, if used to create an endowment, would generate funding for five $1,000 scholarships every year.

“Larry would have liked this,” said Dan Driscoll, professor emeritus of mathematics and a longtime friend and colleague of Smith. “He was a very generous man, and he was dedicated to his work.”

Driscoll and his wife, Sylvia, helped Smith extensively during the last years of his life, as his once brilliant mind succumbed to dementia and he lived in several assisted living and nursing facilities. Smith had no immediate family and Dan Driscoll was forced to help his friend make complicated decisions.

One of those was dividing the estate Smith had built up in a variety of investment accounts. With no close family, all of his estate will go to charitable causes, including SUNY Cortland.

The Faculty Senate scholarship has already been awarded for 2014-15, so the first beneficiaries of Smith’s gift are likely to be in 2015-16.