Grove City College’s Rockwell Hall to Get New Name

GROVE CITY, Pa. – The Rockwell Hall of Science at Grove City College is getting a new name.

In 2025, when renovations to the campus landmark are complete, it will be renamed the Smith Hall of Science and Technology in honor of alumnus and tech entrepreneur William W. Smith Jr. and his wife, Dieva, in recognition of their support of the college and longstanding commitment to its vision, mission and values, a news release states.

The $48 million renovation project is a major first-phase priority of Impact 150: The Anniversary Campaign for Grove City College. The Smiths are lead donors to the renovation.

“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,” said Edward D. Breen, chair of the college’s board of trustees. “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.”

The landmark building 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, the building was renovated and renamed in honor of Willard F. Rockwell Jr., a former college trustee.

Bill Smith is an entrepreneur and corporate leader who earned a degree in business administration from the college in 1969. He founded Smith Micro Software in 1982. Over 40 years as CEO, he built Smith Micro into a multinational corporation that is a key player in the telecommunications industry.

“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 renovation project will preserve the building’s classic collegiate gothic exterior while transforming almost every interior space to meet the needs of today’s students and technologies. The project includes a multistory structure that will connect the building 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.

“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.”

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.