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Millers commit $10 million toward Moody Coliseum renovation and expansion

David and Carolyn Miller
David and Carolyn Miller

April 28, 2011

DALLAS (SMU) – David B. Miller, SMU alumnus and member of the Board of Trustees, and his wife, Carolyn Lacy Miller, have committed $10 million toward the expansion and renovation of Moody Coliseum.

“With this remarkable gift, David and Carolyn Miller move us closer to full funding for the renovation and expansion of this major resource for the campus and community,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “As a former Mustang basketball player, David has enjoyed the excitement of athletic success in this facility, and he and Carolyn have participated in numerous ceremonies in Moody. Now they are helping to ensure that others enjoy these communal experiences in a state-of-the-art version of this historic facility.”

Moody Coliseum has been the site of events ranging from athletics competitions to graduations to campaign rallies and rock concerts.

The Millers’ announcement comes just days after the Moody Foundation announced April 20 that it is committing $20 million toward the $40 million Moody expansion and renovation project. “With these lead gifts, we feel confident we have the momentum to attract other donors, and we look forward to working with them,” Turner added.

In commenting on their gift, David Miller said, “I had a wonderful academic and athletic experience at SMU. We are delighted to give something back to a University that has been so important to three generations of our family.”

Miller is co-founder and partner of EnCap Investments L.P., a private equity firm based in Houston and Dallas. He also is president of the David B. Miller Family Foundation, which he established in 2006. In addition to SMU, the foundation contributes to numerous charitable organizations. Carolyn Miller is vice president of the foundation.

The Millers have been generous long-time donors to academic and athletic programs at SMU. Gifts have created the David B. Miller Endowed Professorship in Cox School of Business, the Don Jackson Center for Financial Studies in Cox and the EnCap Investments & LCM Group Alternative Asset Management Center, also in Cox, as well as the David and Carolyn Miller Annual Scholarships. They also have provided support for the Crum Basketball Center, the men’s basketball program and Circle of Champions in the Department of Athletics.

“The tremendous generosity of David and Carolyn Miller adds to the high level of excitement surrounding SMU,” said Brad E. Cheves, vice president for development and external affairs at SMU. “We are very grateful to our donors as they provide history-making gifts during the year in which we celebrate the centennial of our founding. This is a very special time.”

Mr. Miller earned two degrees from SMU, a B.B.A. degree in finance in 1972 and an M.B.A. degree in 1973. As an undergraduate, he was a three-year starter and letterman on the varsity basketball team and a member of the 1971-1972 Southwest Conference Co-Championship team. Mr. Miller received the Distinguished Alumni Award from the Edwin L. Cox School of Business in 2000. In 2009 he received the Silver Anniversary Mustang Award from the SMU Lettermen’s Association.

Before establishing EnCap, Mr. Miller served as co-CEO of MAZE Exploration Inc., a Denver-based oil and gas company that he co-founded in 1981. Mr. Miller began his professional career with Republic National Bank of Dallas, ultimately serving as vice president and manager of the bank’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Republic Energy Finance Corporation.

The Moody expansion and renovation will feature new premium seating, as well as courtside retractable seating designated for students and renovation of the entry lobby and concourses. Technology improvements will include new video boards, scoreboards, sound system, broadcast capabilities and heating and cooling systems. In addition, office suites, restrooms and locker rooms will be upgraded. Project planning and design will begin immediately, with a construction date to be determined.

“We are happy and honored that a former SMU student-athlete who has done so well professionally continues to support our student-athletes at such a significant level,” said Director of Athletics Steve Orsini. “David understands the importance of athletics to SMU, and this gift gives our programs an immediate and long-lasting boost, as well as dramatically improving the quality of experience all students will enjoy at Moody Coliseum events. The Millers’ generous gift will help make our legendary facility a state-of-the-art venue and help our teams meet the top-25 standard we have set for each of them.”

Moody Coliseum has long been the site of special events, including heart-stopping basketball moments. In its inaugural year, fans packed the 9,000-seat coliseum to cheer the Mustang men’s basketball team to the Southwest Conference Championship and NCAA postseason competition. Women’s basketball came to Moody Coliseum in 1976, and women’s volleyball began there in 1996. Legend has it that “Moody Magic” contributes to consistent wins at home for Mustang teams.

Each May the coliseum is transformed to host SMU Commencement as well as graduation ceremonies for thousands of area high school students. Four U.S. presidents have spoken at Moody Coliseum, including Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush. Poet T.S. Eliot also spoke to audiences there. Other events at Moody have included the installation of United Methodist Church bishops and Easter services for Highland Park United Methodist Church.

Moody Coliseum has been the venue for bands such as the Rolling Stones, Three Dog Night, the Grateful Dead, Queen, U2 and Pearl Jam. Dallas’ first professional basketball team, the Chaparrals, competed at Moody along with professional tennis players at the Virginia Slims and WCT professional tennis tournaments. Cheerleading, basketball and volleyball camps, Boy Scout conferences and fundraising dance marathons have taken place at Moody Coliseum.

Activities of the George W. Bush Presidential Center also will benefit from access to Moody as that resource brings thousands of visitors to SMU and Dallas.

The Millers’ gift counts toward SMU’s Second Century Campaign, which seeks support for student quality, faculty and academic excellence, and the campus experience. Launched in 2008 with a goal of $750 million, the campaign at midpoint has raised more than $500 million.

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SMU is a nationally ranked private university in Dallas founded 100 years ago. Today, SMU enrolls nearly 11,000 students who benefit from the academic opportunities and international reach of seven degree-granting schools. 

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