The name “Smith” that is displayed on the former Business Administration Building as Smith-Hutson Business Building is the actual name of an anonymous donor who recently donated a $1 Million banking endowment to the university, according to Sam Houston State University Interim President B.K. Marks.
Marks said that the name on the building was not put there on the request of Mr. Smith, but that distinguished alumnus and former regent Lee Drain made the request.
“Mr. Drain was a regent on our board for 18 years. He’s a distinguished alumnus of Sam Houston State University and was very much involved in helping us secure the endowment,” Marks said.
“Mr. Drain thought it would be a great to honor to him [Smith] to do it and requested that that be done and our regents, who have authority to do that, saw fit to do it.
“We did have to be sure that he [Smith] had no objection, and when we talked about it, he did not want his name on the building. He said ‘I don’t mind if you name it the Smith building,’ but the message we got back said that he did not want his entire name on there.
“Then he said ‘I would also, if you are going to name it, like for you to honor my long-time business acquaintance, Robert Hutson,’ and he said ‘rather than including my first name, I would like you to call it the Smith-Hutson Building.’ That’s the message we got back from him,” Marks said.
Marks said that the donor has made previous donations to the university for small amounts, but none were very significant.
He added that the donor had no family besides his wife so he simply “wants to leave his money to Sam Houston.” Marks said, “and we’re delighted.” But Marks said that he did not know why the donor decided to make the donation and included that he had yet to speak to the donor.
“I have never spoken to him. And at the request of Robert Hutson,” who is the donor’s representative, “he does not want me to try to speak with him. He does not want to be bothered. This is a gentleman that wants no honors, no accolades.”
Marks said that the donor is going to allow the university to make a portrait of him. Upon his death, the university will place the portrait with a portrait of Hutson in the building.