About Dedman College

About Dedman College

Boys talking in front of Dallas Hall

Dedman College was named in 1981 for the late Robert H. Dedman Sr. and his wife, Nancy McMillan Dedman, SMU alumni whose gift endowed the college and enables SMU to remain committed to its legacy as a liberal arts university.

In addition to being the oldest academic unit at SMU, Dedman College is also the largest. Students in Dedman College have the advantage of exploring 40 undergraduate majors, 56 minors, 17 master’s programs and 14 doctoral degrees offered in 16 academic departments spanning the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, mathematics, statistics and interdisciplinary studies. 

Brief Dedman College History

1912 Dallas citizens pledged $300,000 ($6,317,878 adjusted for inflation) to construct the university’s first building, named Dallas Hall in their honor. The cornerstone was laid on Thanksgiving Day.

1915 SMU opened the doors of Dallas Hall to welcome the first class of students. Those students enrolled into the College of Arts and Sciences, which eventually would become Dedman College.

1959 The Department of Economics became the first department at SMU to offer a Ph.D. The first doctoral degree was conferred in 1963, which was also the first Ph.D. granted in any field by a university in Dallas.

1963 After the formulation of the Master Plan, the college became the School of Humanities and Sciences in recognition of its role in the broad education of students in the liberal arts.

1963 The basic liberal arts education for all SMU students was provided by University College, an independent, non-degree-granting academic unit.

1980 The School of Humanities and Sciences was merged with University College to create a new entity central to the enterprise of undergraduate and graduate education. The name was changed from school to college.

1981 The college was endowed by the late Robert H. Dedman, Sr., and his wife, Nancy McMillan Dedman, and named Dedman College.

2001 The Dedman Life Sciences Building was built in 2001 and named after businessman Robert H. Dedman Sr. and his wife, Nancy McMillan Dedman. It is the home of the Department of Biological Sciences, offices, classrooms and laboratories. It also houses the pre-health program, which supports the University’s commitment to prepare students for the study of medicine.

2012 Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences offered the first human rights undergraduate degree west of the Mississippi and only the fifth in the nation.