In 1917, Elmer Scott founded The Civic Federation of Dallas as a community-wide social service agency. Under Mr. Scott’s leadership, the Federation presented lectures, socials, dramas, and musical evenings. When the Federation was dissolved in 1958, the board of directors assigned its assets to SMU and asked that the annual income be used for the Scott-Hawkins Lectures. Gaynell Hawkins was a 1917 graduate of SMU. Upon graduation, she began working for the Civic Federation, first as research secretary and later educational director. She moved on to other projects in 1940 and upon her retirement in 1965 she received the SMU Woman of Achievement Award.
The DCII now administers the Scott-Hawkins Lecture Fund, which provides financial support for speaker events organized by SMU faculty. The DCII particularly welcomes proposals for events that can appeal to a broad interdisciplinary audience of students and faculty. Applicants are expected to seek additional sources of funding to match the amount requested from the Scott-Hawkins Fund.