Champlain Names Sugarbush Owner Winthrop H. Smith, Jr. as 2012 Champlain College Distinguished Citizen

Champlain College will honor Winthrop H. Smith, Jr. of Warren, as the 2012 Champlain College Distinguished Citizen for his engagement, dedication to service and philanthropy in Vermont. This is the 51st year for the award. He will receive the honor during the Class of 2016 Convocation ceremony at Roger H. Perry Hall at Champlain College on Friday, Aug. 24.

Smith was born in New York City where he attended the Buckley School in Manhattan before attending Deerfield Academy for his high school years. He received his BA in Political Science from Amherst College, where he was also an accomplished equestrian, soccer, and rugby player. While at Amherst, he discovered a love for skiing at the Mad River Valley with college friends. Smith purchased Sugarbush Resort in 2001 and is its principal owner and president.

Smith earned his MBA in Finance from Wharton University and enjoyed a 28-year career in investment banking at Merrill Lynch, spent traveling to over 80 countries. As Chairman of Merrill Lynch International for 10 years, Smith led one of Merrill Lynch & Co.'s four business units with 90,000 employees, over $2 billion in revenues and client assets of $180 billion. He retired from Merrill Lynch in January 2002.

Smith is a member of Champlain College's Bring Your Own Business (BYOBiz) Executive Advisory Board and is chair of the Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce. In 2007, he chaired the Governor's Commission on the Future of State Parks. Smith is also on the boards of the Vermont Ski Areas Association, the Vermont Business Roundtable, and the National Ski Areas Association.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Irene, Smith participated in clean up and recovery efforts and sponsored fund raising events. Despite expensive damages to Sugarbush, he realized that others had suffered even more devastating losses. He and his wife, Lili, of Shelburne, personally contributed $100,000 to the Mad River Valley Community Fund and three-times matched their contribution with the help of friends and Sugarbush regulars. The Community Fund has raised more than $1 million for flood relief and the entire amount has been given to hurricane victims in the Valley. Through both his family foundation and Sugarbush, Smith is a frequent sponsor of charity events and donated to various Vermont charities last year.

Past philanthropic activities include serving on the boards of the United Nations Association of the USA, Outward Bound, the New York City Ballet, Cancer Research Institute, The Japan Society, and the Winthrop H. Smith Memorial Foundation. Smith is currently a director of Eaton Vance Corporation in Boston as well as AGF Management Limited and Richardson GMP in Toronto and Richardson Financial Group in Winnipeg, Canada.

Smith has four children, four stepdaughters, and four grandchildren. All but the youngest are passionate skiers or snowboarders and the youngest will soon be.


Founded in 1878, Champlain College is a small, not-for-profit, private college in Burlington, Vermont, with additional campuses in Montreal, Canada, and Dublin, Ireland. Champlain offers a traditional undergraduate experience from its beautiful campus overlooking Lake Champlain and over 90 residential undergraduate and online undergraduate and graduate degree programs and certificates. Champlain's distinctive career-driven approach to higher education embodies the notion that true learning occurs when information and experience come together to create knowledge. Champlain College is included in the Princeton Review's The Best 384 Colleges: 2019 Edition. For the fourth year in a row, Champlain was named a "Most Innovative School" in the North by U.S. News & World Report's 2019 "America's Best Colleges,” and a “Best Value School” and is ranked in the top 100 “Regional Universities of the North” and in the top 25 for “Best Undergraduate Teaching.” Champlain is also featured in the Fiske Guide to Colleges for 2019 as one of the "best and most interesting schools" in the United States, Canada and Great Britain and is a 2019 College of Distinction. For more information, visit champlain.edu.