CORNING - Corning Community College has received a $1 million gift in support of the Walter R. Smith Visiting Scholar Series, the college announced Tuesday.

The college said this is the largest gift from an individual it has ever received. It was donated from Smith’s estate and will permanently endow the series.

“I am thankful and proud that this extraordinary individual gift will support Corning’s goal to bring world-renowned scholars, speakers, and authors to campus who will inspire thought-provoking conversations that will broaden perspectives and expose our students and members of the community to new ideas and viewpoints,” CCC President Dr. Kate Douglas said.

The Walter R. Smith Visiting Scholar Series was established in 2004. It brings various authors, speakers, and influential figures to campus to discuss their books, work, experience and points of view.

Notable speakers include Amory Houghton, Jr., Carl Hayden, Dr. Steven Squyes and Dr. Sheila Ann Dean, among others.

Smith worked at the college for nearly 50 years as a historian before retiring in 2008. He contributed in many ways to CCC throughout his career, including by reviewing articles for various journals and interviewing prominent scholars, and serving as CCC’s representative to SUNY’s Faculty Council of Community Colleges and served as its chair.

He passed away on Dec. 15, 2015.

“Walter was always an inspiration for intellectual rigor,” Douglas said. “ He is missed by the entire CCC community. It is heartening to know that his spirit, keens sense of curiosity, and thirst for knowledge will live on through the endowed series.”