May 29, 2011
The late Bill Clements and Rita Clements in 2009 at SMU-in-Taos on the grounds of Fort Burgwin, N.M., at the opening of new student housing they helped to provide for the SMU campus there. Bill Clements made it possible for SMU to acquire and rebuild the historic fort and to develop academic and research programs at Taos. The couple provided major support for other SMU academic programs, including endowing the Clements Center for Southwest Studies and the Clements Department of History in SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences. Governor Clements died May 29 in Dallas.
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“Bill Clements’ generosity and guidance have made a significant impact on academic programs throughout SMU, with major gifts supporting engineering, theology, mathematics and history. By endowing the Clements Department of History, including a new Ph.D. program, and the Clements Center for Southwest Studies, he enabled students ranging from undergraduates to doctoral fellows to learn more about the history and cultures of this region. Bill and Rita Clements also made it possible for SMU to acquire, rebuild and offer academic programs at SMU-in-Taos, located on the site of historic Fort Burgwin in northern New Mexico. This facility has given generations of students and faculty a tremendous and unique resource for teaching, learning and research.
“Earlier, as chair of SMU’s Board from 1967-73 and again from l983-86, Bill Clements led the formation of an endowment committee resulting in dramatic increases in market value. He led funding of the campus master plan that continues to guide our academic offerings, and with an eye for detail in bricks and mortar, he preserved the continuity of SMU’s Collegiate Georgian architecture. All this he accomplished with his typical no-nonsense approach and direct style of communication. His legacy as a business leader, public official and supporter of SMU will stand the test of time. He was a member of the SMU community for more than 70 years and he will be greatly missed.”
R. Gerald Turner, President, SMU
May 29, 2011