Endowing Excellence in Education and Research

Mary and Rich Templeton commit $5 million to the Lyle School of Engineering


A $5 million gift from longtime SMU supporters Mary and Rich Templeton will bolster student excellence and doctoral research in SMU’s Lyle School of Engineering through endowed scholarships and fellowships.


The Templetons’ gift includes $2.5 million to endow four Templeton Ph.D. Fellowships and cover their initial operating funds for the first five years, boosting the school’s capacity to meet its research goals. The Templeton Ph.D. Fellowships endowment is the first of its kind within the Lyle School. The gift also includes a further $2.5 million to endow 10 Templeton undergraduate scholarships and cover their initial operating funds for the first five years, strengthening the school’s ability to attract the best and brightest to the Hilltop.


“This generous commitment underscores the vital nature of research and the importance of student support for the future of SMU and the Lyle School of Engineering,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “Mary and Rich have long been unwavering advocates for higher education, and this new gift highlights that passionate dedication. This gift is a tremendous investment in the Lyle School, supporting its undergraduate students in their collegiate careers and laying the foundation for its Ph.D. students’ transformative research endeavors.”

“Mary and I are proud to support the Lyle School and its students as they build a future based on innovation and discovery.”

As SMU makes strides toward achieving status as a Research 1 (R-1) institution, the quality of its student body and the strength of its research goals are vital to its success. The Templeton Ph.D. Fellowships and Templeton Scholarships will ensure that the Lyle School can continue to support its research mission, while also prioritizing excellence in higher education at SMU.


“Gifts like the Templetons’ are fundamental to the success of our faculty, our students and our research, particularly as SMU continues on its trajectory toward R-1 status,” said Elizabeth G. Loboa, SMU provost and vice president for Academic Affairs. “This generous commitment by the Templetons will create an enduring, positive impact on both the Lyle School’s current and future students and the influence of the research performed on SMU’s campus.”

Expected Impact

  • Bolsters support for student excellence and doctoral research
  • Empowers Ph.D. candidates to perform crucial, pioneering research to solve the problems of tomorrow
  • Strengthens SMU’s and the Lyle School’s ability to attract top-tier students
  • Furthers SMU’s progress on its path toward achieving status as an R-1 institution

“Building a strong future for our community requires comprehensive education and robust research opportunities,” said Rich Templeton, philanthropist and the chairman, president and chief executive officer of Texas Instruments. “Providing greater access for students and better support for Ph.D. research makes an impact that goes far beyond the SMU campus. Mary and I are proud to be a part of the Lyle School’s new chapter, and we look forward to seeing its continued success and growth.”


One of the highest priorities of the Lyle School’s Campaign Steering Committee is supporting scholarships and Ph.D. fellowships, as well as supporting the strategic academic and enrollment goals of the University. These priorities make gifts like the Templetons’ even more imperative.

“Rich and Mary have repeatedly made landmark donations in areas strategic to the future of the Lyle School,” said Marc Christensen, dean and Bobby B. Lyle Professor of Engineering Innovation in the Lyle School of Engineering. “Their leadership has blazed a trail that others can then follow and reinforce.”


The scholarship endowment is expected to double the school’s current Lyle Engineering Scholars Program offerings of $5,000. As SMU approaches the spring admission season for the class of 2025, this increase will enable the Lyle School to attract high-caliber students, particularly amid the financial challenges faced by so many in the current economic climate.

“Mary and Rich’s gift is a tremendous investment in the future success of the research mission of the Lyle School, for both its undergraduate and graduate students.”

“We are deeply appreciative of Rich’s and Mary’s active involvement with the University and their continued enthusiasm for the work being done here. They are extraordinary examples of visionary and strategic philanthropists,” said Brad E. Cheves, SMU vice president for Development and External Affairs. “Through their giving, the Templetons profoundly shape the future and inspire and motivate others to similarly invest in the future.”


A passionate community volunteer, Mary Templeton holds a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Union College in New York and had an illustrious 14-year career as a financial analyst with General Electric before moving to Dallas. In addition to her and her husband’s various contributions to education and research, she works directly to support and improve her community. Mary Templeton has served her alma mater on its board of trustees and has been a member of the board of trustees for the AT&T Performing Arts Center, John Paul II High School, the United Way of Metropolitan Dallas Foundation, the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden, Ursuline Academy of Dallas, Ursuline Academy Foundation and the University of Dallas. She has additionally served on The Catholic Foundation’s advisory council and was honored with its Catholic Foundation Award in 2011.


Rich Templeton has worked at Texas Instruments since 1980, after graduating with his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Union College. He has served as president and CEO since 2004 and chairman of the board since 2008. A member of the Business Roundtable, Rich Templeton has led Texas Instruments to unprecedented growth during this time.


Rich Templeton is also an active philanthropist, having chaired the 2012–2013 United Way of Metropolitan Dallas campaign. He is a current member of the SMU Board of Trustees and has served on the executive boards of both Cox School of Business and the Lyle School of Engineering. In the broader community, he sits on the board of the Semiconductor Industry Association and the board of trustees for the Southwestern Medical Foundation.


Rich and Mary Templeton met as students at Union College, graduating together in 1980. In the years since, they have made powerful strides for education and research initiatives, founding the Mary and Rich Templeton Foundation in 2004. The couple’s recent work in the Dallas community includes co-chairing the 2018–19 United Way of Metropolitan Dallas campaign and donating generously to the United Way of Metropolitan Dallas Coronavirus Response & Recovery Fund. Their contributions to SMU include establishing the Mary and Richard Templeton Centennial Chair in Electrical Engineering within the Lyle School and donating $5 million for the Lyle School research, among other gifts. The Templetons have three children: Stephanie Boggs, John Templeton and James Templeton ’14.