2019 Archives

Transforming the future of arts education

Nancy C. and Richard R. Rogers’ gift will make a lasting impact on students and the arts community

October 9, 2019

DALLAS (SMU) – A $5 million gift from Dallas art collectors and patrons Nancy C. and Richard R. Rogers extends their long-standing support of artists by establishing a vibrant hub for the visual arts at SMU.

The new Nancy C. and Richard R. Rogers Center for Visual Arts will provide a physical space that expands academic and artistic opportunities for students and faculty to propel them to the forefront of their fields. It is part of the Meadows School of the Arts’ renovation of Owen Arts Center, a $34 million initiative to modernize the 250,000-square-foot building’s north wing. Gifts to the project are supported by a grant from The Meadows Foundation.

“We thank Nancy C. and Richard R. Rogers for their generous support of the new visual arts center, where learning, creation and innovation will converge in new and exciting ways,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “As the Meadows School shapes the future of arts education, the Rogers Center will become a vital part of the pipeline of artistic talent elevating the arts ecosystems in Dallas and beyond, and contributing to SMU’s rising national reputation as a leader in arts education.”

The Rogers Center will become the new home of the Art, Art History and Creative Computation areas of study. It will feature studio and gallery spaces; technology labs; and classrooms designed to ignite discovery, imagination and artistic expression. A formal entrance on the north side of the building will provide a welcoming gateway.

“We’re excited to support the education and experiences of aspiring artists and art historians at SMU,” Nancy C. Rogers said. “They’ll be prepared for a lifetime of creative contribution that pushes boundaries, forges cultural connections and enriches our communities.”

The gift builds on the couple’s long-standing arts advocacy in Dallas and throughout the country. They also have given their time and support to a host of organizations devoted to helping families in need, sustaining health and improving and enriching lives.

“The Rogerses are renowned supporters of the arts and arts philanthropy in Dallas,” said Brad Cheves, SMU vice president of development and external affairs. “We are grateful for their part in bolstering Meadows School as a top arts and cultural institution.”

Peter K. Moore, SMU provost and vice president ad interim, believes student and faculty work amplified by a modernized Meadows School Owen Arts Center feeds Dallas’ creative energy. “Talent and leadership fostered in such an environment directly connects us to Dallas’ reputation of vibrancy and innovation,” he said.

In addition to leading NCR Capital Group, Nancy C. Rogers is an internationally recognized philanthropist and contemporary art collector. She has chaired TWO x TWO for AIDS and Art, a signature fundraising event for both its beneficiaries: the Dallas Museum of Art and amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research.

Richard R. Rogers is executive chairman for Mary Kay, Inc., which he co-founded with his mother, Mary Kay Ash, in 1963. Mr. Rogers’ son, Ryan, graduated from SMU in 1998. Mrs. Rogers’ niece and nephew both currently attend SMU; one of her goddaughters graduated in 2017.

The couple are also longtime supporters of Crystal Charity; The Family Place; the Dallas Museum of Art, where Mrs. Rogers currently serves on the Board of Trustees; the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society; Dallas Contemporary; Dallas Arboretum; Genesis Women’s Shelter; and countless other causes.

In 2013, the Rogerses provided a leadership gift to SMU in support of the Moody Coliseum renovation and expansion project. Mrs. Rogers was also actively involved in the building of the Chi Omega sorority house on SMU’s campus in 2014.

“The renovation will result in innovative, aesthetically beautiful and technically state-of-the-art facilities that accelerate the work of Meadows faculty and students to the forefront of their fields,” said Samuel S. Holland, Algur H. Meadows Dean of Meadows School of the Arts.

In 2019, the University is commemorating the 50th anniversary of the naming of the School of the Arts for the visionary Algur H. Meadows. SMU will celebrate the kickoff of the Owen Arts Center renovation with a public ceremony on Bishop Boulevard on November 8 at 4 p.m. during Homecoming Weekend 2019.

SMU has the opportunity to transform the Meadows School’s Owen Arts Center for a new generation of artists, creators, innovators and thinkers. For more information or to make a gift, visit smu.edu/TransformOwenArts or contact Meadows Giving at 214-768-4189.

Owen Arts Center

The Owen Arts Center was designed by architect George L. Dahl in the 1960s. The center is home to dance, music and theatre performance and rehearsal spaces; art galleries and studios; the dean’s suite; and the Meadows Art, Art History, Arts Management and Arts Entrepreneurship, Dance, Music and Theatre divisions.

Public performance spaces within the Owen Arts Center include Caruth Auditorium, Bob Hope Theatre, Greer Garson Theatre, Margo Jones Theatre, O’Donnell Lecture-Recital Hall, Sharp Studio and Taubman Atrium. There, students participate in lectures, film screenings, set construction and music lessons and can take advantage of opportunities to form relationships and collaborate across many art forms. The inspiring and challenging environment creates a nexus of energy, creativity and commitment.

About Meadows School of the Arts

The Meadows School of the Arts celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2019. Formally established at SMU in 1969 and named in honor of benefactor Algur H. Meadows, it is one of the foremost arts education institutions in the United States. The Meadows School offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in advertising, art, art history, arts management and arts entrepreneurship, corporate communication and public affairs, creative computation, dance, film and media arts, journalism, music and theatre. The goal of the Meadows School, as a comprehensive educational institution, is to prepare students to meet the demands of professional careers. The Meadows School is a leader in developing innovative outreach and community engagement programs, challenging its students to make a difference locally and globally by developing connections between art, entrepreneurship and change. Meadows is also a convener for the arts in North Texas, serving as a catalyst for new collaborations and providing critical industry research.

SMU is the nationally ranked global research university in the dynamic city of Dallas. SMU’s alumni, faculty and nearly 12,000 students in seven degree-granting schools demonstrate an entrepreneurial spirit as they lead change in their professions, communities and the world.