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Smith Family pledges $750,000 for Gibbons

Largest gift in school history will go toward new science, arts and technology building

Cardinal Gibbons Principal Paul D. Ott, far left, and the Smith family after the announcement of their $ 750,000 gift at the school's Evening in Paris fundraising dinner March 23. From left: Susan Smith, Kaelin Kelley, Gibbons class of '19, Shawn Smith-Myers, class of '89, and Charlie Myers.

Photographer: Darryl Nobles | DreamFocus Photo

Cardinal Gibbons Principal Paul D. Ott, far left, and the Smith family after the announcement of their $ 750,000 gift at the school's Evening in Paris fundraising dinner March 23. From left: Susan Smith, Kaelin Kelley, Gibbons class of '19, Shawn Smith-Myers, class of '89, and Charlie Myers.

FORT LAUDERDALE | Cardinal Gibbons High School has received the largest single gift ever pledged to the high school, $750,000 from the Phil and Susan Smith Family Foundation.

Donated in honor of the late South Florida businessman and philanthropist Phil Smith, the money will go toward the naming of a new building on the school’s Fort Lauderdale campus — a building where students can hone their skills in science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics (STEAM).

The announcement and celebration of the Smith family’s donation came March 23, during Cardinal Gibbons’ 28th annual dinner auction, “Evening in Paris,” which raised funds for the Capital Campaign. So far, Cardinal Gibbons’ Our Faith - Our Family - Our Future Capital Campaign has raised over $3 million through the contributions of over 60 individual donors, out of the $4.3 million needed to complete the project.

Over the years, the Smith family has pledged millions of dollars in donations to both education and healthcare institutions in South Florida, such as Florida Atlantic University and Holy Cross Hospital. Supporting local educational initiatives has always been a priority for the Smith family.

“Phil was always passionate about supporting education and providing local students with the tools they need to succeed,” Susan Smith said. “Phil would be proud that we are continuing his legacy by advancing the educational opportunities available to students at Cardinal Gibbons.”

The addition of the 20,000-square-foot Phil Smith Family Building to Cardinal Gibbons’ 18-acre campus will mark the high school as a local leader in STEM and artistic education.

“This gift from the Smith family will provide a venue for our students to explore the possibility of becoming tomorrow’s scientists, engineers, artists and performers. This building will encourage and inspire current and future students to unleash their creative spirits,” said Paul Ott, principal of Cardinal Gibbons.

This new academic wing will be located on the south side of the Cardinal Gibbons gymnasium. It will feature a makerspace, choral room and secondary practice space, band studio, digital music lab, a Genius Room and television editing and production studios, as well as collaborative STEAM classrooms and labs.

Cardinal Gibbons High School is an Archdiocese of Miami school dedicated to Catholic principles and offering a college preparatory curriculum. The Phil and Susan Smith Family Foundation was established in 2014 as an additional way for the Smith family’s contributions to reach community organizations.

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