Remembering Robert L. Smith

Robert Lawrence Smith died peacefully early Monday, May 24, at the age of 96 at his home in Bethesda. Please join us in holding his children, Susan Smith Bastian ’72, Katie Smith Sloan ’73, and Geoff Smith ’77; grandchildren Hannah, Emily, Hunter, Chris ’04, Jennifer ’07, Moria ’11, Benjamin, and Katherine; and the entire extended family in the Light. 

Bob served as head of school from 1965 to 1978 and as trustee from 2000 to 2008. He came to Sidwell Friends in 1965 from Columbia University, where he was an assistant dean and before that the assistant registrar. During his tenure as Head of School, he fortified the foundation of Quakerism, civic engagement, and community service. He was a transformational leader who saw the School through a time of enormous change in the country. He leaned heavily on the humanistic Quaker precepts of racial and gender equality, social justice, and nonviolence when examining practices at the School and addressing gaps.  It is impossible to capture the full scope of Bob’s legacy and impact on the Sidwell Friends community. A formidable intellect and profound moral thinker, Bob was a remarkably kind man who cared deeply about young people and Quaker education. 

Help us capture Bob's incredible impact and legacy by sharing your fond memories and messages. Your kind words will be featured in special memory books created for the Smith family, and for the School to keep in his memory.