2019 Archives

SMU Remembers Visionary Patriot H. Ross Perot

July 10, 2019

DALLAS (SMU) – The SMU community mourns the loss of H. Ross Perot, who died July 9 at the age of 89.

“H. Ross Perot will be remembered as one of the great visionaries of the information age, a passionate reformer of public education, a generous philanthropist and a devoted patriot,” said R. Gerald Turner, president of SMU. “At SMU, we honor and remember him as one of our own. He received an honorary doctor of humane letters degree from SMU in 1991 and, with his wife, Margot, was a longtime supporter of the arts and other areas of the University. His family continues to serve SMU in significant and important ways. SMU extends its deepest condolences to Mr. Perot’s family and friends.”
Ross Perot

H. Ross Perot, Jr., Sarah Fullinwider Perot, Margot Perot, H. Ross Perot

In 1962, Perot, a former IBM salesman, founded Electronic Data Systems, the first information technology service company. He later merged the company with General Motors. He and his son, Ross Perot, Jr. continued the family legacy with the founding of Perot Systems, an IT services company, which was acquired by Dell Inc. in 2009.

A generous philanthropist, Perot started the Perot Foundation in 1969. Committed to medical research and education, Perot supported young scientists as well as Nobel Prize winners, and contributed to the creation of innovative medical facilities throughout the state of Texas. His family honored his love of science with their support of the Perot Museum of Nature and Science. He was a generous contributor to the arts in Dallas as well as nonprofit organizations that support those in poverty.

Dedicated to his country, Perot fought for reform as a presidential candidate in 1992 and 1996, and on the state level as a leader of the anti-drug movement and a leader for education reform in Texas.

A graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, Perot remained dedicated to fellow service members throughout his lifetime. He fought for and helped secure release of prisoners of war, and funded research on war-related illnesses.

At SMU, the Perot family has continued their patriarch’s support for education and the arts and provided key guidance and leadership to the University. H. Ross Perot Jr. served as a member of the SMU Board of Trustees from 1996 to 2008 as well as on several other key committees. His wife, Sarah Fullinwider Perot, a 1983 SMU graduate, has served on the SMU Board of Trustees since 2008 and serves on the executive boards of Meadows School of the Arts and Dedman College. Carolyn Perot Rathjen is a current member and Nancy Perot is a former member of the Tate Lecture Series Board of Directors. Katherine Perot Reeves is a former member of SMU’s 21st Century Council and one of the Perot granddaughters is a current SMU student.