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2012 Archives

SMU hosts historic gathering of campus donors

November 1, 2012

Dallas Hall at Southern Methodist UniversityAs part of its homecoming celebration, SMU hosted on Oct. 26 an historic gathering of the leaders and major donors who funded construction of campus facilities, beginning in 1912 and extending to the present day.  The gathering is another in a series of events being hosted by the University as part of its Second Century Celebration, commemorating the centennials of SMU’s founding in 1911 and its opening in 1915.

The Second Century Celebration is co-chaired by Ruth Altshuler and Carl SewellLinda Custard, organizer of the luncheon, serves as celebration vice chair for special events. Other members of the Celebration Committee in attendance were Liz Armstrong, Mark Craig, Linda Eads, Ken Malcolmson, Hon. Jeanne Phillips and Bill Vanderstraaten.

As part of the event, guests received a briefing on SMU’s current campus development projects from president R. Gerald Turner as well as a preview of the George W. Bush Presidential center, opening spring 2013, from architect Graham Wyatt of Robert A. M. Stern Architects LLC.

Attendees at the event spanned the history of the University.  Representing original donors of the campus land in 1911 were descendants of two leading Dallas families: the W. W. Caruth, Sr. family represented by John and Linda Caruth as well as Brent Christopher, President and CEO of the Communities Foundation of Texas; and the Alice T. Armstrong family, represented by Gayl Prather Smith, Amanda Smith, Ryan Smith and Keegan Smith

Also in attendance were several donors of major facilities that make up SMU’s Dallas, Plano and Taos campuses:

  • SMU trustee Bill Armstrong and Liz Armstrong, supporters of SMU-in-Taos and namesakes of Armstrong Commons, currently under construction
  • SMU trustee Brad Brookshire and Ann Brookshire, donors to Fondren Library Center and the new SMU Tennis Center, now under construction south of Mockingbird Lane
  • Cox School of Business namesake, Trustee emeritus and Celebration Honorary Chair Edwin L. Cox
  • Trustee Rev. Mark Craig of Highland Park United Methodist Church, a long-standing neighbor and major donor to campus improvements
  • Mary Anne Sammons Cree, benefactor of the Calatrava sculpture fountain Wave, outside the Meadows Museum; and
  • B.W. Crain and Lawson Crain representing the Ann Lacy Crain family, donors of the Ann Lacy Crain Fountain and the new Crain Family Centennial Promenade.
  • Trustee Katherine Crow, representing her late father-in-law, namesake of Trammell Crow Building in the Cox School
  • Robert Decherd, Chief Executive Officer of A. H. Belo Corporation, representing The Belo Foundation, supporter of the Belo Journalism Center and related facilities
  • Trustee Robert H. Dedman, Jr.  and Nancy Dedman, representing their family which supported Dedman College, Dedman School of Law, Dedman Lifetime Sports Center and the Dedman Life Sciences Building
  • Mitch and Linda Hart, supporters of many campus facilities and projects, including the Hart eCenter at SMU-in-Plano and the R. Gerald Turner President’s Board Room in Perkins Administration building
  • Lauren Embrey, representing her late father, namesake of the Lindsay Embrey Engineering Building, and the Embrey Human Rights Program
  • Gloria and John (Jack) Hammack representing the Meadows Foundation and the Meadows family, long supporters of the Meadows School of the Arts and the Meadows Museum
  • Trustee, Celebration Honorary Chair, and engineering school namesake Bobby B. Lyle
  • Sally Mashburn, daughter of the late Dr. Bob Smith, representing his family, and Bill Womble of the Bob Smith Foundation, supporters of the renovation of the campus’ Memorial Health Center
  • Trustee David B. Miller, namesake of the Miller Event Center, currently under construction on the north side of Moody Coliseum
  • SMU Board Chair Caren Prothro, representing the families of Joe J. and Lois Perkins and Charles and Elizabeth Perkins Prothro, namesakes of the Perkins School of Theology and several facilities across campus
  • Jamie Williams, representing the Moody Foundation, which is supporting the renovation of Moody Coliseum, and her husband Craig.

Representing the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum was its Deputy Director, Emily Robison.  Representing the George W. Bush Foundation were its president Hon. Mark Langdale and Foundation board member,  Hon. Jeanne Phillips.

Several members of the families of former SMU presidents also attended the event:

  • Gail Turner, spouse of SMU’s current president, R. Gerald Turner
  • Robert Hyer Thomas, grandson of SMU’s first president, Robert S. Hyer, and Gail Griffin Thomas
  • Cyndy Selecman Morgan, granddaughter of SMU’s third president Charles Selecman, and Tom Morgan
  • Jo Ann Withers, daughter of SMU’s fifth president Willis M. Tate, and John H. Withers

In honor of the occasion SMU has published The SMU Campus at 100: A Century of Shared Commitment, a guide to the campus’ facilities, monuments and special features, the first publication of its kind since the University’s 50th anniversary celebration in 1965.

The University continues its celebration of the founding of the Dallas campus with an event marking the centennial of the laying of the cornerstone of Dallas Hall, SMU first facility named in honor of the citizens of Dallas who provided funding for its construction, as part of its annual celebration of lights event the evening of December 2, 2012.  That event is free and open to the public.


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