Grove City College will rename Rockwell Hall of Science in honor of alumnus and tech entrepreneur William W. Smith Jr. ’69 and his wife Dieva Smith in recognition of their generous support of the College and longstanding commitment to its vision, mission, and values.
The iconic campus landmark will be rededicated as the Smith Hall of Science and Technology in 2025 when renovations currently underway to the 90-plus year old building are complete. The $48 million project is a major first-phase priority of Impact 150: The Anniversary Campaign for Grove City College Impact 150: The Anniversary Campaign for Grove City College. The Smiths are lead donors to the renovation.
The news was announced by Edward D. Breen ’78, chair of the College’s Board of Trustees, on Friday, Nov. 3 at the Impact 150 Launch Celebration held at alumni-owned Gecko Robotics in Pittsburgh.
“Bill’s and Dieva’s extraordinary generosity should inspire everyone whose lives were impacted by Grove City College to give back to this great institution. It should also clearly impress friends of the College of the value of a Grove City College education. Their support for this historic project will make it possible to equip countless students in the years to come to serve others with the highest proficiency and purpose,” Breen said.
Known for its striking tower overlooking the campus’ Quad, Rockwell was simply named the Hall of Science when it opened in 1931. It was the first academic building on Upper Campus, rising alongside Harbison Chapel and dedicated on the same day to symbolize the integration of faith and learning that is part of the College’s identity.
In 1966, it was renovated and renamed for former College Trustee Willard F. Rockwell Jr. Rededicating the renovated building in honor of the Smiths follows in that tradition, in which the College, which accepts no federal funds and is dependent on tuition and the generosity of private donors, honors those who support and embody Grove City College’s unique character.
William W. Smith Jr. ’69
Bill Smith is a successful entrepreneur and corporate leader who earned a degree in Business Administration from the College in 1969. He founded Smith Micro Software in 1982 and, guided by his visionary leadership and savvy business acumen, it developed a reputation as a trusted software solution provider to wireless carriers and cable companies. Over 40 years as CEO, he built Smith Micro into a multi-national corporation that is a key player in the telecommunications industry.
Smith credits Grove City College for providing the foundation for his success and is a passionate supporter of the private Christian liberal arts college, particularly its Center for Entrepreneurship + Innovation and Computer Science programs. Many alumni secure post-graduate employment with the company.
“I didn't know when I was in Grove City that I was going to be founding a tech company, or become the chairman and CEO, but the College gave me the skills and the moral compass that was required,” Smith said. “You work a lifetime and if things work out, you have the opportunity to make a gift like this. It is part of giving back. It is part of saying thank you because this is where I got my start.”
The Rockwell renovation will preserve the building’s classic collegiate gothic exterior while transforming almost every interior space from the lower level laboratories to third floor classrooms and offices to meet the needs of today’s students and technologies. The project includes a multi-story structure that will connect Rockwell to STEM Hall and increase the available space for instruction, collaboration, and innovation by nearly 25 percent. The building’s mechanical systems – HVAC, electrical, and plumbing – will see significant upgrades as well.
Key features of the renovation emphasize active, hands-on learning and research experiences and engagement across all the sciences, from physics to exercise science, to ensure students are prepared for lives of creative contribution and careers in fast-changing scientific environments. The building design will ensure the College responds from a position of strength in service to the evolving needs of science, technology, and engineering students for generations.
“It's my fond hope that this becomes a center for the campus … one where students can prosper and grow and learn about the technologies and sciences that they will need to apply in their careers going forward,” Smith said. “In this world today, for Grove City College to be a leader and maintain its relevance going forward, a strong science and technology approach is mandatory.”
Impact 150: The Anniversary Campaign for Grove City College is a historic fundraising campaign designed to position the College, which celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2026, for the next century and a half. The $185 million campaign prioritizes student financial aid and investments in existing infrastructure and new construction. For more about the campaign, visit giving.gcc.edu.