Hunter J. Smith was named Benefactor of the Year for giving the largest gift in the history of the University of Virginia’s College at Wise. The Carl W. Smith Bicentennial Scholars Fund was established by a $10 million gift from the Hunter Smith Family Foundation. The University of Virginia matched it with an additional $10 million.

“In today’s market, that would mean that we will have an additional $1 million to distribute in scholarships each year,” Chancellor Donna P. Henry said when the Benefactor of the Year award was made on Nov. 10. “This figure will continue to grow with the growth of the fund.”

Henry said the scholarships mean access and opportunity for students to explore academic interests, explore other countries and cultures and to research topics across disciplines.

“In essence, this gives the Carl W. Smith Scholars the opportunity to truly explore themselves to expose their true interests as they grow while in college here,” she said. “They will have full tuition and fees covered so that all of their attention may be focused on their education.”

Henry thanked Mrs. Smith for her strong legacy of giving that she and her late husband modeled for years. Bruce Gibson, longtime counsel and friend, accepted the Benefactor of the Year award on behalf of Mrs. Smith.

The Smiths have given to a variety of projects and programs over the years, including the Carl W. Smith Stadium, Hunter J. Smith Dining Commons, Lila Vicars Smith House, Marching Highland Cavaliers, and the Carl W. Smith Bicentennial Scholarship.