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Lisa and Tom Smith Make Generous Pledge to Support Nebraska Business Faculty

Lincoln Couple to Establish Presidential Chair in Finance
Lisa and Tom Smith Make Generous Pledge to Support Nebraska Business Faculty
Lisa and Tom Smith, pictured in the Howard L. Hawks Hall classroom they funded, will establish a presidential chair in finance in the College of Business. A presidential chair is among the university’s most prestigious faculty awards and will help to attract and retain top faculty.

University of Nebraska–Lincoln College of Business alumni Lisa and Tom Smith have made a generous gift commitment and estate pledge to support the recruitment and retention of excellent faculty in the College of Business.

The Lincoln couple’s gift will initially establish a fund to provide faculty support before ultimately establishing a presidential chair in the College of Business. A presidential chair is among the university’s most prestigious faculty award.

“I am so thankful to Lisa and Tom Smith for their generous investment in the College of Business,” said Kathy Farrell, James Jr. and Susan Stuart Endowed Dean and professor of finance. “This vital support will help us to attract and retain the best and most innovative faculty who inspire students to lead the future of business.”

The Smiths’ pledge was made through the University of Nebraska Foundation and includes a gift commitment, as well as a deferred pledge to be fulfilled later through the couple’s estate, creating the Lisa and Tom Smith Family Presidential Chair in Finance. At the request of the donors, the total commitment amount will remain confidential.

Because of Lisa and Tom’s successful careers in finance, the presidential chair will be awarded to a faculty member in the Department of Finance, providing an annual stipend and discretionary income to support scholarly research and academic activities. The Lisa and Tom Smith Family Presidential Chair in Finance will continue in perpetuity, preserving the couple’s legacy while strengthening the college’s ability to recruit and retain faculty who are a source of intellectual capital for the state as well as the inspiration and teachers of the next generation of students.

“We believe in the powerful education that the University of Nebraska and the College of Business offer,” the couple said in a joint statement. “We are proud College of Business graduates and want to support Dean Farrell’s vision for the college.”

The College of Business has 4,272 students and 130 faculty. The college integrates strengths-based learning for students through the Clifton Strengths Institute and offers 11 undergraduate majors, as well as graduate and executive education certificates, master’s and Ph.D. degree programs. The College of Business ranks 31st among public undergraduate business programs, according to U.S. News & World Report’s 2022 rankings.

Lisa and Tom are dedicated philanthropists who have supported many causes in the Lincoln community and at the University of Nebraska. They generously provided funding for the construction of Howard L. Hawks Hall, which opened in 2017 as the new home for the College of Business.

A 1968 graduate of the College of Business, Tom came to UNL from Hastings, Nebraska, after earning a football scholarship. A finance major, he co-founded Smith Hayes Financial Services, which merged with D.A. Davidson Co. in 2016. Tom currently serves as vice chairman for wealth management.

Originally from Lincoln, Nebraska, Lisa graduated in 1990 with a finance degree from the College of Business. She served as the founding chair for Women Investing in Nebraska, a network of women philanthropists that operates in partnership with the University of Nebraska Foundation and the UNF Charitable Gift Fund. Lisa is a senior vice president/financial adviser and portfolio manager at D.A. Davidson. She currently chairs the Dean’s Advisory Board at the College of Business.

The Smiths’ gift was made as part of Only in Nebraska: A Campaign for Our University’s Future, which began in 2018. The campaign is a historic effort to engage at least 150,000 benefactors to give $3 billion to support the University of Nebraska. Lisa and Tom Smith serve as volunteer chairs for the College of Business as part of the campaign. The couple also are trustees for the University of Nebraska Foundation.

Published: August 15, 2023