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2010 Campaign News Archive

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New Hunt Institute to combat poverty

A new SMU institute will apply the power of engineering, collaboration and the free market to address the vital social needs of impoverished people in the United States and abroad.

In December SMU announced the creation of the Hunter and Stephanie Hunt Institute for Engineering and Humanity in Lyle School of Engineering. The institute, a major academic addition and a signifi cant achievement of The Second Century Campaign, was established with gifts totaling $5 million from Hunter L. Hunt ’90 and Stephanie Erwin Hunt, William T. Solomon ’64 and Gay F. Solomon, Bobby B. Lyle ’67 and others.

Jeffrey Talley, chair of the Department of Environmental and Civil Engineering and Bobby B. Lyle Professor of Leadership and Global Entrepreneurship, is the institute’s founding director. The institute will be housed in the new Caruth Hall, which will be dedicated in April.

The gifts also create two endowed professorships, including the William T. and Gay F. Solomon Endowed Professor in Engineering and Global Development. The Lyle School is conducting an international search for a scholar who has broad experience in developing technologies and infrastructure for emerging economies to assume the chair.

“The Hunt Institute for Engineering and Humanity will enable the Lyle School of Engineering to serve as a magnet for the kind of students and researchers who seek solutions to societal challenges,” says SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “We are very grateful for the generosity of these donors, whose passion for improving the lives of others matches SMU’s commitment to global leadership.”

The mission of the institute is to identify and create innovative and affordable technology to help accelerate global development and to train students in the design and distribution of that technology. The institute’s strategy begins with the understanding that small-scale innovations already exist to solve many problems in poor communities, while others need to be modifi ed to fi t specifi c geographic and cultural needs. Its project list includes safe, affordable and sustainable housing, ready access to clean water and sanitation, functional roads and transportation systems and clean, reliable energy.

The Hunt Institute will employ an interdisciplinary approach that involves collaboration with business, academia and other experts. For example, the Lyle School’s partnership with the renowned Lockheed Martin Skunk Works® lab will provide proven innovation methodologies to support the institute’s research and development efforts. It is the fourth new academic center or institute created through The Second Century Campaign, including the new Center for Engineering Leadership, also in the Lyle School.

Lead donors Hunter and Stephanie Hunt say the institute was born of their desire to take concrete action in the fight against global poverty.

“We’re big believers in innovation,” Stephanie Hunt told The Dallas Morning News, one of a number of media outlets that reported the institute’s founding. “Solutions have to be scalable so that we can reach millions of people. And they have to be market-driven.” She added, “We want to recast a new type of engineer who thinks more from a human perspective.”

“Dallas has always been a hotbed for innovation,” Hunter Hunt said. “SMU’s engineering school is becoming a home for people who want to look at issues and problems and view the world a bit differently.”

Lyle School of Engineering Dean Geoffrey C. Orsak says the institute is taking on “no easy challenge.”

“To make basic technology globally available at a price the poorest of the poor can afford requires a radical rethinking of centuries of engineering practice,” he says.

Identifying solutions for alleviating poverty will require talented, motivated engineers, Orsak says, adding that the success of this new institute can have a profound impact on people who struggle just to survive with dignity.

April 23, 2010

A new SMU institute will apply the power of engineering, collaboration and the free market to address the vital social needs of impoverished people in the United States and abroad.

In December SMU announced the creation of the Hunter and Stephanie Hunt Institute for Engineering and Humanity in Lyle School of Engineering. The institute, a major academic addition and a signifi cant achievement of The Second Century Campaign, was established with gifts totaling $5 million from Hunter L. Hunt ’90 and Stephanie Erwin Hunt, William T. Solomon ’64 and Gay F. Solomon, Bobby B. Lyle ’67 and others.

Jeffrey Talley, chair of the Department of Environmental and Civil Engineering and Bobby B. Lyle Professor of Leadership and Global Entrepreneurship, is the institute’s founding director. The institute will be housed in the new Caruth Hall, which will be dedicated in April.

The gifts also create two endowed professorships, including the William T. and Gay F. Solomon Endowed Professor in Engineering and Global Development. The Lyle School is conducting an international search for a scholar who has broad experience in developing technologies and infrastructure for emerging economies to assume the chair.

“The Hunt Institute for Engineering and Humanity will enable the Lyle School of Engineering to serve as a magnet for the kind of students and researchers who seek solutions to societal challenges,” says SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “We are very grateful for the generosity of these donors, whose passion for improving the lives of others matches SMU’s commitment to global leadership.”

The mission of the institute is to identify and create innovative and affordable technology to help accelerate global development and to train students in the design and distribution of that technology. The institute’s strategy begins with the understanding that small-scale innovations already exist to solve many problems in poor communities, while others need to be modifi ed to fi t specifi c geographic and cultural needs. Its project list includes safe, affordable and sustainable housing, ready access to clean water and sanitation, functional roads and transportation systems and clean, reliable energy.

The Hunt Institute will employ an interdisciplinary approach that involves collaboration with business, academia and other experts. For example, the Lyle School’s partnership with the renowned Lockheed Martin Skunk Works® lab will provide proven innovation methodologies to support the institute’s research and development efforts. It is the fourth new academic center or institute created through The Second Century Campaign, including the new Center for Engineering Leadership, also in the Lyle School.

Lead donors Hunter and Stephanie Hunt say the institute was born of their desire to take concrete action in the fight against global poverty.

“We’re big believers in innovation,” Stephanie Hunt told The Dallas Morning News, one of a number of media outlets that reported the institute’s founding. “Solutions have to be scalable so that we can reach millions of people. And they have to be market-driven.” She added, “We want to recast a new type of engineer who thinks more from a human perspective.”

“Dallas has always been a hotbed for innovation,” Hunter Hunt said. “SMU’s engineering school is becoming a home for people who want to look at issues and problems and view the world a bit differently.”

Lyle School of Engineering Dean Geoffrey C. Orsak says the institute is taking on “no easy challenge.”

“To make basic technology globally available at a price the poorest of the poor can afford requires a radical rethinking of centuries of engineering practice,” he says.

Identifying solutions for alleviating poverty will require talented, motivated engineers, Orsak says, adding that the success of this new institute can have a profound impact on people who struggle just to survive with dignity.