Visionary Philanthropist to Receive Honorary Degree at Colorado State University May 16

Colorado State University will confer an honorary doctoral degree on Michael Smith, chairman and chief executive officer of Freeport Liquefied Natural Gas Development, at spring 2008 commencement ceremonies Friday, May 16.

Colorado State President Larry Edward Penley will award the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, Honoris Causa, to Smith in recognition of his visionary contributions made to energy development, local economies and the communities in which he has lived. He will receive his degree at Colorado State’s Graduate School commencement ceremony at 3 p.m. in Moby Arena.

"Colorado State University is proud to award this degree to Michael," Penley said. "Not only has he achieved exceptional professional success, but more importantly, he has made tremendous contributions to society through his generous and far-reaching philanthropy."

A Colorado State student from 1973 to 1978, Smith majored in chemistry with a minor in mathematics.

In 1981, he founded Basin Exploration, Inc., and served as its chairman of the board, chief executive officer and president. He currently serves as chairman and chief executive officer of Freeport Liquefied Natural Gas Development, a partnership formed in 2002 to design, permit, build, own and operate a 1.5 billion cubic-feet-per-day liquefied natural gas receiving terminal in Quintana, Texas.

Smith has many business and community affiliations throughout Colorado. He is a national trustee at National Jewish Medical and Research Center, a member of the Center for Liquefied Natural Gas, former director of Colorado Ocean Journey, former director of Stone Energy, former member of the State of Colorado Governor’s Minerals, Energy and Geology Policy Advisory Board, past president, Colorado Oil and Gas Association, and finance chairman of Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell’s 1992 U.S. Senatorial campaign.

The Smiths have contributed to a number of charitable organizations across the country including National Jewish, Denver Center for Performing Arts, Colorado – I Have a Dream, Breast Cancer Foundation, Race to Erase MS, The Children’s Developmental Center in New York and The Woman of Tomorrow in Miami.

"Michael Smith’s commitment to Colorado State is reflected in his leadership – through his co-founding of the Development Council and exemplary service from 1990 to 2004 – and his support of Ram Athletics and the university community," said Joyce Berry, vice president for Advancement and Strategic Initiatives at Colorado State.