Former Starbucks CEO Makes Tribute Gift to Honor Past UB President

Greiner (left) and Smith

Orin Smith, retired CEO of Starbucks Corp., hadn’t seen former UB president and current law professor William R. Greiner in more than 30 years. Yet one day Smith picked up the phone and called the UB Law School development office, seeking a way to honor his former teacher. The conversation resulted in Smith making a tribute gift of $200,000 in honor of his mentor. Smith’s gift is named the Professor William R. Greiner Law Faculty Reading Room in O’Brian Hall.

“We had lost touch for a long time, then he dropped me an e-mail,” says Greiner. “He wrote me this overwhelming note, and I was blown away.”

Smith was enrolled in Greiner’s constitutional law class at the University of Washington (UW) when the two first met. After graduating from the UW Business School in 1965, Smith was accepted at Harvard University, from which he graduated in 1967.

“When I retired, I ‘Googled’ him, and there he was,” says Smith.