Remembering Columbia College Chicago’s First Lifetime Trustee, Sydney Smith Gordon (1923-2017)

Sydney Smith Gordon

The Columbia College Chicago Theatre Department wishes to salute the memory of Columbia College Board of Trustees lifetime member Sydney Smith Gordon, who passed away on October 9, 2017, at the age of 94. Ms. Gordon, a longtime Chicagoan who moved to Colorado Springs in 2006 to be closer to family, was a staunch supporter of Columbia College Chicago dating back to her election to the board in 1970, and in 1999 she was elected the college’s first Lifetime Trustee in recognition of her leadership and commitment to the college. In lieu of flowers, her family requests that a donation be made in her name to Columbia College Chicago or to any of the organizations that advocate for and support human rights.

Ms. Gordon was also a significant supporter of theatre in Chicago, at one point serving as director of communications for the Sarah Siddons Society, an organization dedicated to supporting Chicago theatre artists. The Sarah Siddons Society annually presents scholarships to students at Columbia College and other Chicago-area theatre schools.

Outside of theatre, she was a passionate activist and advocate for the underrepresented and underserved. She was head of Chicago Call to Action and also served as the national president of that organization.

Born April 6, 1923, in New York City to actors Loring Smith and Natalie “Sawyer” Dugan Smith, Ms. Gordon traveled with her parents as a young child, spending several years in Australia before returning to New York. As an adult, she pioneered several radio and television shows in the early 1950s, including her daily program “Byline” for NBC and “Monitor,” for which she served as one of the theater and film reviewers, and covered major events like the Golden Globe Awards.

Ms. Gordon is survived by her daughter Allison Scott, son-in-law Allen Scott, grandchildren Gwen Abbott Asmussen of McCall, Idaho, Jeremy Abbott of Colorado Springs and Detroit, and Aaron Kot of Columbia, South Carolina, and great-granddaughter Sophie Kot.