Robert Smith Vista Equity Partners

Robert Smith announced a $50 million gift in January to his alma mater Cornell University, which renamed its school of chemical and bioengineering after him. In June he was named chairman of Carnegie Hall.The son of Ph.D's, he was bussed across town to his school in the early days of desegregation. He later convinced Bell Labs when he was in high school to give him an internship typically only available to college upperclassman by calling them weekly for five months