President of Southern Methodist University since 1995, R. Gerald Turner is leading an era of unprecedented progress as SMU celebrates the centennial of its founding in 2011 and of its opening in 2015.
Under his leadership, two major gift campaigns have provided funding for 643 new endowed scholarships, 50 new endowed academic positions, 104 academic program endowments and 40 new or renovated facilities. SMU’s current Second Century Campaign has raised more than $840 million to date, and a new goal of $1 billion has been set.
SMU’s progress in recent years includes a near tripling of applications, an increase in student SAT scores to 1302 in fall 2013, an increase in minority enrollment to 25 percent, and a more than doubling of the University endowment in the past 15 years, currently at $1.2 billion. SMU consistently ranks in the top one-fourth of the best national universities as listed in U.S. News & World Report.
Working with the SMU Board of Trustees, President Turner led efforts to attract the George W. Bush Presidential Center, which opened on the SMU campus in May 2013.
Beyond the campus, Gerald Turner has served on the boards of the American Council on Education and the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, and he co-chairs the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics. In Texas he serves on the boards of the Methodist Hospital Foundation, the Salvation Army of Dallas and two publicly traded companies.
Before joining SMU, President Turner was the chancellor of the University of Mississippi and served in administrative and teaching positions at the University of Oklahoma and Pepperdine University. A native of New Boston, Texas, he earned a B.S. degree in psychology from Abilene Christian University and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in psychology from The University of Texas at Austin. He and his wife, Gail, have two married daughters and five grandchildren.
Southern Methodist University is a private, comprehensive university of 11,000 students enrolled in seven degree-granting schools. SMU offers undergraduate and graduate programs in the humanities and sciences; business; engineering; education; and the performing, visual, and communication arts, as well as professional degree programs in law and theology. Founded in 1911 by what is now The United Methodist Church, SMU is nonsectarian in its teaching and committed to the values of academic freedom and open inquiry.