Ralph Smith: Distinguished Friends of Oxford Award Recipient

The Distinguished Friend of Oxford (DFO) Award was initiated in 1997 to provide the University with a means of formally recognising individuals who have acted as exceptional volunteers for the benefit of the wider collegiate University. The first awards were presented in 1998.

The Award recognises those who have given of their time, contacts and influence in support of an initiative beyond that which can be recognised through traditional channels. Their impact will have been profound and the results would have been impossible to achieve using current available resources. Separate from any financial contributions, their legacy will have had a lasting impact on the collegiate University and they will be perceived as role models to other volunteer contributors.

Recipients of the 2015 Awards were honoured at a ceremony at Harris Manchester College on 20 June.

Mr. Ralph Smith

Ralph Smith has been a champion of the Rhodes Trust and the University for more than 40 years, and his steadfast support has forged ever stronger links with American scholars and philanthropists. A formidable $30 million has been raised by the American Trust for Oxford since Ralph Smith became its Administrator in 2008. Over the years, he has also played a crucial part in selecting 76 Rhodes Scholars.

He came to Corpus as a Rhodes Scholar in 1973. Since 1981 he has sat on the Rhodes Scholar Selection Committee. Besides this exceptional service, he is also a Rhodes Scholar Class Leader, and spends much of his time inciting other alumni to support the Rhodes Trust and Oxford. Those who know his work say that his involvement with philanthropy and the Oxford Thinking Campaign as the Administrator for the American Trust for Oxford has been in a class of its own, and that he has undertaken this work with grace and understated diligence, manifested in his strong relationships with Oxford fundraisers and personal acknowledgment of major benefactors’ gifts.

In addition to his successful law practice, he is the President and CEO of The Ralph Smith Group, a global consulting company for business and higher education. In 2013, the Queen appointed him to the Order of St. John.

The Rhodes Trust is delighted to add to that honour by nominating him as a Distinguished Friend of Oxford.

Read more here.