Monumental alumna, arts benefactor dies at 88

Media Credit: File Photo by Grace Hromin | Senior Photo Editor

The University recognized Smith as one of its 72 “monumental alumni” who were honored as part of GW's bicentennial celebration earlier this year.

Clarice Smith, an alumna and philanthropist who donated millions of dollars to the University, died earlier this month. She was 88 years old.

Smith earned a bachelor’s degree in art from GW in 1976 and a master’s degree in fine arts in 1979 before she joined the University as a faculty member in 1980, where she taught watercolor and portraiture within the Department of Fine Arts and Art History for seven years, according to a University release. Smith and her late husband Robert, a former member of the Board of Trustees who donated $10 million in 2008 to renovate the Smith Center, helped fund the Smith Hall of Art, named after the married couple at the Academic Center.

The University recognized Smith as one of its 72 “monumental alumni” who were honored as part of GW’s bicentennial celebration earlier this year.

Smith’s art, which features portraits, still-life arrangements and landscapes, has been displayed all over the world, and she hosted several solo exhibitions in galleries across the globe in cities like London, Paris and Jerusalem.

The Luther W. Brady Art Gallery – an art exhibit in the Corcoran School of the Arts and Design – showcased some of her work in 2013, and one of her paintings is permanently displayed at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the release states. Her work has also appeared on display at the National Museum of Women in the Arts, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, the New York Historical Society, the National Sporting Library and Museum and the Kreeger Museum.

Outside of her GW contributions, Smith donated $15 million to the University of Maryland, which opened the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center in her honor in 2001, according to The Washington Post. She received honorary doctorate degrees from GW in 2012 and from the University of Marland in 2015.

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