June 9, 2011
DALLAS (SMU) – Current and former members of SMU’s Board of Trustees have provided funding to construct a new quadrangle on campus and name it in honor of President R. Gerald Turner as he leads the University into its second century of achievement. This year SMU is celebrating the centennial of its founding and in 2015 will mark the 100th anniversary of its opening.
“We wanted not only to recognize the tremendous progress President Turner has achieved for SMU since 1995, but more importantly to celebrate his ongoing leadership for many years to come,” said Caren Prothro, chair of the Board of Trustees.
The R. Gerald Turner Centennial Quadrangle will be prominently located in the eastern quadrant of the campus, an area that Turner identified early in his presidency for improvement and development. In the past several years, as a result of the successful fundraising he has led in partnership with the Board of Trustees, five new buildings have been constructed around the site of the quadrangle, on the east side of campus. These include the Junkins, Embrey and Caruth buildings for the Lyle School of Engineering, the Collins Executive Education Center for Cox School of Business and the Blanton Student Services Building, which welcomes prospective students and their families to campus via SMU Boulevard.
Also, at SMU Boulevard and Central Expressway, the George W. Bush Presidential Center is under construction, “a seminal achievement during President Turner’s tenure,” Prothro added. “The Turner Centennial Quadrangle will be a beautiful and welcoming enhancement to the campus.”
Benches and garden areas will add to the beauty and appeal of the quadrangle. The quadrangle also will include the Cooper Centennial Fountain, funded in 2010 by a gift from Susan and William Cooper.
Also located within the quadrangle will be the Gail O. and R. Gerald Turner Pavilion. “We also wanted to recognize the tremendous role that Gail Turner plays in the life and progress of the University,” Prothro said. “It’s especially fitting that Mrs. Turner be honored with a pavilion that will serve as a wonderful gathering place for the University community.”
Construction on the Turner Centennial Quadrangle is under way, with completion expected in September.
“Over the past two years, the SMU Board of Trustees has discussed ways by which we, as a group, could personally honor President Turner for his continuing vision, service and leadership to the University,” Prothro said. “His tenure as president has been truly historic and transformational for the University – an era during which SMU has grown significantly in national and international stature. We wanted to say thank you as we move into this exciting era for SMU under his leadership.”
In the past several years, SMU has risen to number 56 among 260 national universities, according to U.S. News & World Report, and business programs have placed in the top 15 in several rankings. The SAT scores of entering students have increased, as have applications to the University. Increasing research productivity among faculty has resulted in SMU’s rise in the research classification of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. Under Dr. Turner, SMU’s “Time to Lead” campaign (1997-2002) and the current Second Century Campaign have attracted more than $1 billion for scholarships, faculty positions, academic programs and new or renovated facilities. Turner also was instrumental in securing the partnership between the George W. Bush Presidential Center and SMU.
“Gail and I are extremely grateful for this honor, but we want to emphasize that SMU’s tremendous progress has been a team effort with the vision and support of a forward-looking Board, generous donors and the commitment of the entire University community,” President Turner said. “What pleases us most about this new quadrangle is that it will provide a peaceful and attractive gathering place for our students and others, especially as we welcome growing numbers of visitors to campus during our centennial celebration years. We are excited to be a part of SMU’s ongoing progress at this historic time.”
The $2.5 million project is fully funded by 100 percent of the current trustees, and several former members of the Board who have served during Dr. Turner’s presidency also have contributed. The gift counts toward SMU Unbridled: The Second Century Campaign, which to date has raised $538 million in gifts and pledges to support student quality, faculty and academic excellence and the campus experience, including physical enhancements to the living and learning environment.
SMU is a nationally ranked private university in Dallas founded 100 years ago. Today, SMU enrolls nearly 11,000 students who benefit from the academic opportunities and international reach of seven degree-granting schools.