Ford Hall

Breaking Ground: SMU’s new home for digital explorers

Feb 22, 2019

Gerald J. Ford Hall for Research and Innovation ignites the future of research and education

DALLAS, TEXAS — February 22, 2019 — Today, SMU Guildhall celebrated the ground breaking ceremony for its new home, the Gerald J. Ford Hall for Research and Innovation. With Ford Hall, SMU takes a giant leap forward in the rapidly shifting digital frontier. The new 50,000-square-foot interdisciplinary research hub will equip faculty, students and industry partners with tools and resources to collaborate, solve complex problems and power new enterprises. 

The new facility will be located on SMU’s main campus at the corner of McFarlin Boulevard and Airline Road. Ford Hall will serve as the home to SMU’s AT&T Center for Virtualization, the Dedman College Interdisciplinary Institute, high-performance computing and data science, the new innovative Visualization Lab and the Guildhall, the Hart eCenter’s top-ranked digital game design program.

As digital explorers, both undergraduate and graduate students will work alongside faculty and industry professionals in this new data-driven nerve center. Ford Hall will expand the University’s use of high-performance computing for interdisciplinary collaborations and help SMU attract greater levels of external research funding. 

“Ford Hall will give us the capacity to offer new programs and explore opportunities in the thriving gaming ecosystem in Dallas,” said SMU Guildhall Director, Gary Brubaker.


SMU Ford Hall Ground Breaking

SMU Ford Hall Ground Breaking SMU Ford Hall Ground Breaking


SMU Trustee Gerald J. Ford ’66, ’69, his wife, Kelli O. Ford, and The Gerald J. Ford Family Foundation provided a $15 million lead gift to help fund construction of the new building.

“With this gift Gerald Ford is continuing his extraordinary legacy as a catalyst for excellence and growth for the University,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “His earlier vision and lead gift for the Ford Stadium has attracted tens of thousands of visitors to SMU each year and energized the campus and wider communities. Now, with the construction of the Gerald J. Ford Hall for Research and Innovation, SMU’s student and faculty research initiatives will be transformed, pushing the boundaries of knowledge and innovation.”

Researchers at SMU already are working with industry and community partners on diverse projects such as cloud computing and internet security, adult literacy and cancer research. With recent investments in computing capacity, the recruitment of specialized faculty expertise and investments in facilities such as Ford Hall, SMU plans more collaborative research projects like these in the next decade and beyond.

“This is a critical step in SMU’s journey to strengthen its research capabilities,” Ford said. “The University is creating an exciting space for bold doers and collaborators. It’s the next step in SMU’s ascendancy as a premier research and teaching university, and my family and I are honored to play a role in this process.” 

The interior will be highly flexible to accommodate groups of all sizes from small huddle spaces to large classes, presentations, competitions and performances. All spaces offer high-performance video capabilities to facilitate real-time interaction between researchers, students and collaborators.


Learn more about the Ground Breaking

More details about Ford Hall


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