As a doctoral student nearly 40 years ago, William Longbrake taught finance and introductory business courses to undergraduates. Then, after a full career in banking and public policy, he returned to the Robert H. Smith School of Business as a student advisor, executive-in-residence and member of the Board of Advisors

“In retirement you can go back to where you started,” Longbrake DBA ’76 said. “This is where it all began.”William Longbrake

Now the educator, philanthropist and retired executive has pledged $1 million to support the school, the latest in his long history of giving to Maryland Smith. Notably, he funded a suite of offices for Smith Ph.D. students in Van Munching Hall in 2008, and he endowed a professorship held by Vojislav Maksimovic.

“Bill Longbrake has been a champion of Maryland Smith for many years,” Smith dean Alexander Triantis says. “He believes in the power of education to change lives, and he contributes as a philanthropist and teacher.”

Smith MBA students step outside the classroom in the consulting practicum that Longbrake continues to lead. In one recent example, his students helped Maryland’s Environmental Finance Center manage a pollution mitigation project at the Chesapeake Bay.

“We take skills that students learn in the classroom and apply them to projects for real-world clients,” says Longbrake, who also writes a monthly white paper on economic developments and issues.

He draws upon more than 25 years of experience at Washington Mutual, where he helped build the company from a $2.5 billion mutual savings bank in Washington state to the sixth-largest depository institution in the nation.

Longbrake also held regulatory positions at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. As a scholar, he published articles that continue to be cited, including one from 1975 co-authored with Smith emeritus professor John Haslem.

Longbrake has served in numerous academic, business and community service organizations — particularly those associated with affordable housing and education.