The Gerald J. Ford Hall for Research and Innovation ignites the future of research and education at SMU

Dallas (SMU) – SMU dedicated the Gerald J. Ford Hall for Research and Innovation on December 4, 2020, a new 50,000-square-foot interdisciplinary research hub that will equip faculty, students and industry partners with tools and resources to collaborate, solve complex problems and power new enterprises in the digital world of today and tomorrow. Gerald J. Ford ’66, ’69; his wife, Kelli O. Ford; and The Gerald J. Ford Family Foundation provided the lead gift for Ford Hall in 2013. The new facility expands the University’s use of high-performance computing for interdisciplinary collaborations and will help SMU attract greater levels of external research funding. As digital explorers, both undergraduate and graduate students will work alongside faculty and industry professionals in this new data-driven nerve center.

The new facility is located on SMU’s main campus at the corner of McFarlin Boulevard and Airline Road and serves as the home to the AT&T Center for Virtualization, the Dedman College Interdisciplinary Institute, high-performance computing and data science, and the innovative Visualization Lab. In addition, thanks to a significant gift from Linda Wertheimer Hart ’65 and Milledge (Mitch) A. Hart III, Ford Hall brings to SMU’s main campus the Hart eCenter, which includes SMU Guildhall, the graduate game design program.

Visualization lab

Visualization Lab

The multipurpose, flexible gathering space on the first floor offers high-performance visualization capabilities to facilitate real-time interaction between researchers, students and collaborators. It will accommodate classes, presentations and competitions, and also will work as an auditorium for performances, hackathons and other events.


Shared Collaboration Studios

Adaptable learning spaces on the second floor feature high-end audio and video systems, raised floors and modular design to support cross-disciplinary research.


Guildhall Collaboration Suites

The versatile and changeable huddle spaces accommodate Guildhall projects and student and faculty research groups of all sizes.

Ford Hall atrium

The Atrium

This high-traffic, high-use area serves as an entry point for visitors and a meetup space for building users. This flex area also can be used to extend the Visualization Lab footprint when needed.


Hillcrest Foundation Café

This space provides a welcoming place for students, faculty and staff to get refreshments and to informally collaborate with each other.

SMU’s New Home for Digital Explorers:Ford Hall for Research and Innovation