Seminole State Receives Historic Gift Of $2M From Wharton-Smith Foundation

From Left: Wharton-Smith President and CEO Tim Smith, CFO Stephanie Pompeo and Board Chair Ron Davoli present a check for $2 million to Seminole State President Dr. Georgia Lorenz outside building D, which will be renamed the George and Gretchen Smith Workforce Trades Center.
From Left: George Smith and Ron Davoli of Wharton-Smith announce the naming of the Wharton-Smith Center for Construction at the 2007 Dream Auction with then Seminole State President Dr. E. Ann McGee.

SANFORD – The Foundation for Seminole State College of Florida is proud to announce a transformative gift from Wharton-Smith Inc., which will forever shape the future of the institution. In recognition of this historic contribution, Seminole State College will name building D on the Sanford/Lake Mary Campus the George and Gretchen Smith Workforce Trades Center.

The generous donation from the Wharton-Smith Foundation marks a pivotal moment in Seminole State’s history. This significant gift underscores Wharton-Smith’s unwavering commitment to transform the education of our community’s skilled workforce. This momentous $2 million gift was announced at the 40th Annual Dream Gala and coincides with the 40th anniversary of Wharton-Smith as a company. Headquartered in Sanford, Wharton-Smith has a strong presence and solid reputation as a general contractor, construction manager, and design-build contractor throughout the Southeastern U.S.

Wharton-Smith’s philanthropy extends far beyond this generous donation. Their dedication to Seminole State College exemplifies their deep-rooted passion for construction education. The decision to name building D in their honor is a fitting tribute to their remarkable generosity and enduring legacy.

George and Gretchen Smith have been long-time supporters of Seminole State College both personally and through Wharton-Smith. In 1999, Wharton-Smith established an Endowed Teaching Chair scholarship to recognize outstanding faculty and staff at Seminole State. The Wharton-Smith Center for Construction was established in 2007 to support education and training opportunities for students and professionals in the construction industry. In 2015, Wharton-Smith established an endowed scholarship for students pursuing their degree or certification in the construction field or management. The following year, George and Gretchen personally established an endowed scholarship for students pursuing a degree in nursing. The company has also supported programs at the College with funding for competitions, hardware and supplies.

“We are very proud of our participation with the construction programs over the years at Seminole State,” said Ron Davoli, chairman of the Wharton-Smith board and former chief executive officer. “To have George and Gretchen honored during our 40th anniversary is only fitting.  The sacrifices they made 40 years ago to found the company have resulted in so many opportunities for our employees and the greater community”.

Employees of Wharton-Smith have volunteered countless hours to mentoring students of Seminole State, and several employees have been adjunct professors. They have also served on the Board of Directors for the Foundation for Seminole State College, the Alumni Leadership Team, and have been influential in the establishment of the Design and Construction Chapter of the alumni association.

“It is a privilege to be a part of the college and continue our involvement following George and Ron’s support,” said Tim Smith, president and CEO of Wharton-Smith. “They have both modeled the way in how to make an impact on the college, the students, industries, and the community we all share. It is great to see the pride of the alumni and how they give back.”

This historic naming not only recognizes the extraordinary generosity of George and Gretchen Smith but also serves as a symbol of our enduring commitment to excellence and innovation. The George and Gretchen Smith Workforce Trades Center will stand as a testament to the transformative power of philanthropy and the profound impact it can have on the lives of Seminole State students, faculty and staff, and the community.

Seminole State College and the Foundation for Seminole State extend deepest gratitude to Wharton-Smith for their visionary leadership and steadfast support. Together, we will continue to shape the future and inspire generations to come.

Dr. John Gyllin, vice president of Resource and Economic Development and executive director of the Foundation for Seminole State College shared, “We have been so blessed with such a strong partnership with Wharton-Smith. They continually look for ways to add value and support Seminole State, and this incredible commitment comes at the perfect time to transform our workforce training spaces and equip our community with the next generation of skilled workers. From George, Ron and Tim, I appreciate each of their friendships and strong dedication to Seminole State.”