January 27, 2010
By Brooks Powell
Lyle School of Engineering Dean Geoffrey Orsak announced Tuesday at a student senate meeting that the Engineering School has broken a record for applicants for the incoming 2010 class.
As of Tuesday afternoon, Orsak said, the engineering school surpassed 1,000 applicants for the incoming class, eclipsing all previous records. This, he said, is due to the unparalleled faculty and facilities the school offers, made possible from financial support by major donors like Bobby B. Lyle, the school’s namesake.
Lyle earned a graduate engineering management degree from SMU in 1967, and the following year became the youngest person to serve as dean of the Cox School of Business at the age of 29. Lyle later founded oil and natural gas company Lyco Energy Corporation in 1981 and was instrumental in the development of the Dallas Galleria and the InterFirst Bank-Galleria.
A SMU press release from November 2008 said Lyle has pledged an estimated $20 million to the school of engineering, with the stipulation that certain benchmarks be met in the process of moving the school in line with the highest state-of-the-art institutions around the country.
“Our aspiration and expectation is to be the best engineering school on the planet,” Lyle said Tuesday.
In his address to the student senate, Lyle indicated that he made his gift following an observation of a disturbing trend in primary and secondary education across the United States.
“We’re in deep trouble,” Lyle said. “People are turning away from math and science in our country.”
To address this, Lyle and his team began attracting major figures in engineering to SMU to begin teaching and inspiring young people to address humanity’s problems through engineering solutions.
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