Springfield Couple Leave Lasting Legacy to UI


Published on August 30 2018 7:36 am
Last Updated on August 30 2018 7:36 am
Written by Millie Lange

A Springfield couple that left a considerable legacy in the Capitol City with a successful home grown pharmaceutical wholesale giant, will now leave a significant legacy for the Fighting Illini football program and the University of Illinois as a whole.

The H.D. Smith Foundation, led by Dale and Chris Smith, has announced a donation of $20 million to the University of Illinois Foundation, in honor of their parents Henry Dale and Betty Smith. It's the largest donation in Fighting Illini athletics history.

Fifteen million will be dedicated to the Henry Dale and Betty Smith Football Performance Center. Three million will be devoted to bringing former student-athletes back to campus for degree completion. Two million will be applied toward the Illinois Carle College of Medicine for innovation at the intersection of medicine, engineering, and athletics.

Chris Smith says the donation isn't just about money, it's about belief in the direction of the program. Dale Smith says his parents were never fair weather Illini fans.

The new football performance center will be named after the Smiths and will feature a new statue of Illini legend Dick Butkus. The facility will feature new and expanded strength and conditioning and sports medicine space, coaches' offices, position meeting rooms, player development areas, locker rooms, and other areas for recruiting and prospect hosting. It's scheduled to be completed prior to the 2019 season opener.