BETTY JO AND JESS HAY ENDOWED PRESIDENT'S SCHOLARSHIPS
FAMILY AND FRIENDS OF BETTY JO AND JESS HAY, VIAD CORP AND MONEYGRAM INTERNATIONAL, DONORS
The late Betty Jo Hay ’52 and the late Jess Hay ’53, ’55 never wavered in their commitment to SMU and to improving the lives of others. At SMU, Betty Jo earned a B.A. degree, while Jess earned a B.B.A. degree and his J.D.
Mrs. Hay was a steadfast advocate for mental health issues and served as a board member and president of the National Mental Health Association. Mr. Hay committed much of his life to improving education across Texas and served on the SMU Board of Trustees, Dedman School of Law Executive Board and The University of Texas Board of Regents, among others. Mr. Hay was the driving force behind establishing the Texas Association of Independent Colleges and Universities.
Mrs. Hay also had a reputation for dynamic leadership in the fight to help those less fortunate. She served on the National Commission on Children, Governor’s Council on Disabilities, Texas Commission on Children and Youth and the National Committee for the Prevention of Child Abuse. With her husband, the Hays combined their passions by establishing the Betty Jo Hay Distinguished Chair of Mental Health at UT Southwestern Medical Center and by founding the Texas Mental Health Foundation.
Professionally, Mr. Hay was a partner at the law firm of Locke Purnell and then went on to serve as president and CEO of Lomas Financial Corp. He also served on the board of directors of more than 23 national corporations and at least a dozen of the most prestigious Dallas organizations. Additionally, Jess Hay was a national icon in political finance. A legendary fundraiser for the Democratic Party, he was sought after for his political support and advice. Jess served as finance chairman for the DNC and on campaign finance committees for numerous officials, from Lloyd Bentsen and Dolph Briscoe to former presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter.
Both Mr. and Mrs. Hay believed in the importance of improving education. Betty Jo was a member of the Association of Higher Education, and Jess was the chairman of the Texas Foundation of Higher Education from 1987 until his recent passing. In 1990, that foundation honored the Hays with the Cecil and Ida Green Award.
Married for 53 years, the Hays were dedicated to their family and known as magnificent public servants with uncompromising integrity. Their extraordinary support of SMU and service to Texas, its people and institutions will not be forgotten. They had two daughters, Deborah Hay Spradley ’75 and Patricia Hay Bush.