2014 Archives

SMU-in-Taos celebrates new facilities and other improvements

July 20, 2014

DALLAS (SMU) — SMU-in-Taos celebrated new facilities and other improvements at the campus in Northern New Mexico last week. Ground was broken on July 18 for the Carolyn and David Miller Campus Center. The Chapel at Fort Burgwin, named for the pre-Civil War fort on the property, was dedicated on July 16.

SMU-in-Taos“SMU-in-Taos offers students and others unique learning experiences and enrichment opportunities in a setting endowed with extraordinary natural resources and cultural traditions,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “We are grateful to the donors who share our vision for the continued development and enhancement of this campus surrounded by the mountains of Northern New Mexico.”

The Carolyn and David Miller Campus Center

The Carolyn and David Miller Campus Center provides a centrally located facility for gatherings of students, faculty and guests at the Taos campus. It includes a great hall accommodating up to 100, classroom and seminar rooms, a media room and a fitness center. SMU alumnus David B. Miller ’72, ’73 and his wife, Carolyn L. Miller, and the David B. Miller Family Foundation provided $2.5 million as the lead gift for the center, which is scheduled for completion in May 2015. Other major donors included Janis P. Coffee and Roy C. Coffee, Jr., Barbara Hunt Crow and Daniel Howard Crow ’12, Marcy Wilson Sands ’69 and Stephen H. Sands ’70, William J. Ware ’01, Robert V. Cecil ’62 and Sandra Garland Cecil ’64, Maurine Petty Dickey ’67, Janet B. Mockovciak and John Mockovciak, III.

David Miller, who earned B.B.A. and M.B.A. degrees from SMU, is managing partner of EnCap Investments L.P., a private equity firm based in Houston and Dallas. He also is president of The David B. Miller Family Foundation, which Carolyn Miller serves as vice president. Mr. Miller serves as a member of the SMU Board of Trustees, Second Century Campaign Leadership Council, Executive Board for Cox School of Business and as co-chair of the Campaign Steering Committee for the Cox School. He has received the Distinguished Alumni Award from both SMU and the Cox School. Mrs. Miller serves on the Executive Board for SMU-in-Taos. Together, they received the Mustang Award for outstanding philanthropy and service to the University.

The Chapel at Fort Burgwin

The Chapel at Fort Burgwin, which was consecrated as a United Methodist chapel, includes special features such as handcrafted doors, stained glass window, cross and courtyard gate, all fabricated by local northern New Mexican artisans. The chapel was provided by gifts from SMU alumni William L. Hutchison ’54 and his wife, Patsy Pinson Hutchison ’54, of Dallas, in memory of their mothers. Ima Leete Hutchison (1901-1991), William Hutchison’s mother, graduated from SMU in 1925. Flora Hedleston Pinson (1913-2010), Patsy Hutchison’s mother, had a successful retailing career in Dallas.

William L. Hutchison is the president of Hutchison Oil and Gas Corp., a private investment company. He served as a member of the SMU Board of Trustees from 1981 to 1987 and was named trustee emeritus in 1995. He received the SMU Distinguished Alumni Award and the Law Distinguished Alumni Award. Mr. and Mrs. Hutchison have four children: Katie Hutchison Gordon ’85, a member of the SMU-in-Taos Executive Board; Charles Hutchison ’88; William L. Hutchison, Jr. ’80; and Gail Hutchison Smith.

Other Taos Campus Enhancements


In the early 1970s, William P. Clements, Jr., who later became governor of Texas, assisted the University in acquiring additional property for the Taos campus. Following Clements’ death in 2011, his personal property and residences adjacent to SMU-in-Taos were given to the University. Recent renovations and improvements to the main Clements residence have been made through gifts from The Clements Foundation, David B. Miller ’72, ’73 and Carolyn L. Miller, the David B. Miller Family Foundation, Nancy McMillan Dedman ’50 and The Dedman Foundation, Janis P. and Roy C. Coffee, Jr., Jenny F. Mullen and Richard T. Mullen ’61.

Additional improvements to the Taos campus include a new bridge over the Rio Grande del Rancho on the Clements property, provided by a gift from SMU alumni Michaux Nash, Jr. ’56, a Dallas banker and member of the SMU-in-Taos Executive Board, and his wife, Eileen ’57. SMU graduate Albon Head, Jr. ’68, ’71, a Fort Worth lawyer who serves on the SMU-in-Taos Executive Board, and his wife, Debra, a professional photographer, provided funds for enhancement of the river to preserve its pristine environment and improve the trout habitat.

“These donors are enabling the University to preserve and enhance this rich resource for learning,” said Brad E. Cheves, SMU Vice President for Development and External Affairs. “Their gifts will provide additional facilities and other improvements allowing expanded use of this unique campus both for academic study and for a variety of non-academic programs.”

Background Information on SMU-in-Taos

SMU-in-Taos is located within the Carson National Forest and surrounded by the Sangre de Cristo Mountains of Northern New Mexico. The property includes the pre-Civil War Fort Burgwin and remains of 13th-century Pot Creek Pueblo. SMU began acquiring the property in 1964 and reconstructed the fort to serve as an archaeology research center. The University added facilities to accommodate students and began offering summer classes in 1973. The SMU-in-Taos campus has grown to include 423 acres with 29 buildings.

SMU-in-Taos now offers summer credit courses in the natural and social sciences, humanities, arts, business and wellness and an annual Archaeology Field School. Classes are enhanced by the region’s distinctive mix of cultures and rich natural resources. A new January academic term was first offered in 2014. The Taos Cultural Institute attracts more than 150 adults each summer for a weekend of informal classes taught by SMU faculty members. The 2014 Cultural Institute is scheduled July 17-20. Other special events on the campus include lectures, concerts and art exhibitions that are open to the public. The facilities are available year-round for corporate, educational and training meetings as well as retreats and activities for youth groups.

“The addition in recent years of comfortable LEED Gold-certified casita-style lodging, and other new and improved facilities, has expanded this beautiful campus beyond a popular setting for summer study into a unique site that draws increasing numbers of people from across the country and around the world,” said Mike Adler, executive director of SMU-in-Taos. “The new Miller Campus Center and other enhancements will increase the appeal of the Taos campus for visiting groups.”

Community Engagement

The community connection between SMU-in-Taos and its Northern New Mexico neighbors grows with each passing year. Many of the courses offered at SMU-in-Taos have community engagement components such as internships, and students take part annually in the re-mudding of the iconic San Francisco de Asis Mission Church in Ranchos de Taos. Working through the Archaeology Field School, SMU students have uncovered and shared with the community a treasure trove of artifacts from excavations conducted in the Ranchos de Taos Plaza. SMU-in-Taos hosts many popular events and programs that are free and open to the area community, such as the annual Summer Colloquium series and the Ima Leete Hutchison concert, featured every summer during the Taos Cultural Institute. The campus co-hosts a fall lecture series with the University of New Mexico.

SMU-in-Taos Master Plan

A master plan was adopted in 2008 to guide growth and improvement of the SMU-in-Taos campus for the near future, including expanded housing, enhancement of educational facilities and continued stewardship of the lands and resources of SMU’s branch campus in Northern New Mexico. As part of the plan, in 2009 new housing for faculty and students was added, as well as technology upgrades and improvements to winterize buildings, thus transforming the campus into a year-round facility. The addition of the Miller Campus Center and the Chapel at Fort Burgwin, along with other current improvements, represents further progress in implementation of the master plan.

SMU Unbridled: The Second Century Campaign

New gifts supporting the SMU-in-Taos master plan count toward the $1 billion goal of SMU Unbridled: The Second Century Campaign, which to date has raised $874 million to support student quality, faculty and academic excellence and the campus experience. The campaign coincides with SMU’s celebration of the 100th anniversary of the University’s founding in 1911 and its opening in 1915.


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.