Connie Smith Taylor, 1958
B.A., Denison University
Citation awarded May, 2008
Connie Smith Taylor and her husband, John Taylor, are a team. Their joint philanthropic endeavors have changed the face of both Dayton, Ohio, their home community, and Denison. Together, in family and community life, in actions and words, they have modeled a deeply ingrained work ethic and the moral imperative of philanthropy. Their community and their children have taken both to heart.
Connie was CEO of the Taylor household, which included her husband and five kids, including a set of triplets, plus 15 foster babies over a 20-year span, and a prodigious volunteer. She is a longtime member of St. Albert the Great Church and has an abiding love for the Catholic Church, its parochial schools, and Catholic Social Services, on whose board she served for 12 years. The feeling is mutual. Connie was inducted into the Knights & Ladies of the Holy Sepulcher, one of only 20,000 members worldwide.
Connie and John’s philanthropy springs from three convictions: 1) the welfare of children is non-negotiable; 2) higher education should be made possible for every eligible young person; and 3) the overall betterment of citizens and communities results in a vibrant, spiritually and economically strong America. They support humane, civic, and social concerns, and educational programs for underprivileged children across the spectrum via Catholic Social Services, Goodwill Industries, St. Joseph Children’s Treatment Center, the Dayton-Montgomery Scholarship Program, Carillon Park, the Dayton Foundation, the Ocean Reef Foundation, the Keys Children’s Foundation, and the United Way at the “Ordre d’Egalité” level. Sinclair Community College acknowledged their generosity by naming the downtown Taylor Administration Building in their honor.
The Taylors sent all five of their children to Denison, a true symbol of their belief in the college. But they also have made possible significant campus projects such as the Taylor House residence hall, transforming a former fraternity house into modern apartment-style accommodations for high-achieving students. Connie has consistently contributed her passionate involvement to a wide range of matters affecting the campus. She has been a loyal alumna and generous benefactor of Denison for many years, including service on the President’s Leadership Council and on her 40th and 50th reunion committees.