Cardinal Gibbons High School Receives Largest Donation in School History
Erin Herbert

Cardinal Gibbons High School has received a capital gift of $750,000 from the Phil and Susan Smith Family Foundation, in honor of the late South Florida businessman and philanthropist Phil Smith, for the naming of a new STEAM building on the school’s campus in Fort Lauderdale. 

The announcement and celebration of the Smith family’s donation came during Cardinal Gibbons 28th Annual Dinner Auction, “Evening in Paris,” on Saturday, March 23, which raised funds earmarked for the Capital Campaign. Thus 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. The $750,000 gift from the Phil and Susan Smith Family Foundation for the naming of the Phil Smith Family Building is the largest single gift ever pledged to Cardinal Gibbons. The Smiths have been longtime members of the Cardinal Gibbons community. Shawn Smith-Myers, daughter of Phil and Susan Smith, graduated from Cardinal Gibbons in 1989, her son James Smith, graduated in 2014 and her daughter, Kaelin Kelley is a current senior who will be graduating in May. 

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 15,000-square-foot Phil Smith Family Building to Cardinal Gibbons’ 18-acre campus will mark Cardinal Gibbons as a local leader in STEM and artistic education and will offer students new opportunities to develop and hone their skills in science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics. “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. “We anticipate great things from our kids as they grow and develop in this enhanced environment.”
This new academic wing will be located on the south side of the Cardinal Gibbons gymnasium and 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.