DALLAS (SMU) — Former SMU swimmer Joseph M. "Jody" Grant '60, and his wife, Sheila Peterson Grant, are providing SMU Athletics with a $1.5 million gift to help fund the University's new Robson & Lindley Aquatics Center. With their gift, they have created the Sheila and Jody Grant Challenge, encouraging other donors to donate the remaining $1.5 million to complete the $22 million funding goal.
The 42,000-square-foot facility, soon to be home to the University's internationally recognized men's and women's swimming and diving teams, will be dedicated Friday, Nov. 3, during SMU Homecoming.
"As community business and philanthropic leaders, Jody and Sheila Grant know the importance of reaching the finish line and completing worthy goals," said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. "Their generosity is inspirational and helps get us closer to completing funding for the Robson & Lindley Aquatics Center and providing a place where our student athletes can continue the championship legacy of SMU swimming and diving."
The Aquatics Center features an indoor Olympic-sized pool, which can be configured for eight 50-meter competition lanes or twenty-two 25-yard lanes. Its platform diving well boasts a 10-meter diving tower with five springboards and seating for 800 spectators is on the mezzanine level.
Jody Grant attended SMU on a swimming scholarship, earning four individual Southwest Conference swimming championships and was twice named to the All America team.
"SMU's swimming program has been near and dear to my heart since Coach Red Barr recruited me many years ago to swim for the Mustangs," said Dr. Grant. "I am honored to support this new facility, which will be home for the swimming program that was so meaningful to me.”
The Grants met as students at SMU and have been SMU supporters since 1979. They have provided support to the SMU Fund, the Tate Lecture Series, the J. Erik Jonsson Ethics award, the Distinguished Alumni Award, Meadows School of the Arts, Dedman College, and Cox School of Business.
“With the challenge grant, we hope to inspire the community to join us in reaching the goal for the fundraising of the Aquatics Center. We like to participate in opportunities that provide benefits for as many people as possible, profoundly enhancing their lives,” said Sheila Grant. “We are confident the new Aquatics Center will achieve both of these goals and we’re honored to be a part of it and hope others will join in.”
"Jody and Sheila Grant’s generous gift honors the legacy of SMU swimming while inspiring others to support this initiative, much like many of their philanthropic efforts across the country inspire others also to contribute,” said Brad Cheves, vice president for Development and External Affairs. "Since his days as a Mustang swimmer, Jody Grant has supported SMU with vision and leadership. He and Sheila continue that commitment with this transformative pledge," said Rick Hart, SMU director of Athletics.
Jody Grant is partner and chairman of BankCap Partners and chairman emeritus of Texas Capital Bancshares, which he co-founded in 1998. He has more than 40 years of experience in banking and American Banker named him 2001 Community Banker-of-the-Year. He is the author of two books on the banking industry, The Development of State Chartered Banking in Texas, published in 1978 and The Great Texas Banking Crash – An Insider’s Account, published in 1996.
Dr. Grant received a BBA in finance from SMU in 1960 and an MBA and Ph.D. in finance and economics from the University of Texas at Austin. He was inducted into the University of Texas College of Business Hall of Fame in 1999, the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans in 2010, and the Texas Business Hall of Fame in 2013. He was international president of Young Presidents’ Organization in 1987-88.
A former member of SMU's Board of Trustees, Dr. Grant has served on the SMU Alumni Board, the Cox School of Business Executive Board, the Willis M. Tate Distinguished Lecture Series Board. He also has served since 2001 on the board of the John Goodwin Tower Center for Political Studies. In addition, Dr. Grant served on athletics campaign committees during SMU’s Time to Lead Campaign and SMU Unbridled: The Second Century Campaign . His many SMU honors include the 2013 SMU Distinguished Alumni Award, the 2010 Cox School of Business Distinguished Alumni Award and the 2002 Silver Anniversary Mustang Award.
Sheila Grant serves on the boards of American Ballet Theater, the School of American Ballet, the Dallas Symphony Association, the Van Cliburn Foundation, the Board of Visitors of U. T. Southwestern Medical Center, and the Woodall Rodgers Park Foundation Board, where she is on the executive committee. She co-founded the Fort Worth Ballet, which is now Texas Ballet Theater. Mrs. Grant attended SMU, the University of Mexico, The University of Texas at Austin, and Parsons School of Design.
Jody and Sheila Grant worked closely together as leaders in the creation of Klyde Warren Park, for which they were honored with the Linz Award in 2015. Dr. Grant chaired the Woodall Rodgers Park Foundation Board and Mrs. Grant chaired the Capital Campaign Committee that raised $115 million. Her leadership has influenced park programming, including performances by the Dallas opera and symphony. Dr. Grant has served as chair of the Communities Foundation of Texas and on the boards of the Dallas Museum of Art, KERA and the Dallas County Community College Foundation.
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