Q & A

Kristin Wagner Henderson ’82

Stewart Henderson and Kristin Henderson

You and your family have been significant investors during the planning phase of SMU Ignited: Boldly Shaping Tomorrow, supporting the Robson & Lindley Aquatics Center and other areas. What most excites you about the new campaign?

New academic facilities including the Ford Hall for Research and Innovation and the Moody School of Graduate and Advanced Studies highlight the emphasis these generous donors and the administration put on hiring the best faculty and providing opportunities for research that will take us to the next level and continue to attract exceptional students.

At SMU, you were a member of the swim team. What was it like being a Mustang athlete?

To represent your school on the conference and national level is exciting and fills you with pride. I am still in touch with my coaches and many of my teammates.

Alumni from the classes of 2005 and 2006 celebrate their 15th year reunion.

You earned three scholarships. How would you describe the importance of giving to scholarships?

Those three scholarships helped me attend SMU and provided me with a strong foundation academically and spiritually to succeed post college. My husband, Stewart, and I believe in investing in the next generation of students to provide opportunities to enrich their lives. We all thrive when we lift each other up.

What are ways Mustangs can get involved in SMU Ignited in addition to financial donations?

Alumni can show their pride in SMU and share with others the successes that are happening on campus. We can all work to recruit high quality students in our communities.

The Alumni Board champions a “go, give, help, connect” model to Mustang advocacy. What have been some rewarding ways you’ve seen that play out recently?

  • Go – Homecoming this year was eventful with the return of the Homecoming Parade, Pigskin Revue and 18 class reunions.
  • Give – April’s Giving Day was a huge success, raising over $2.5 million in 24 hours. Alums came together to support over 200 causes of the many programs and projects on campus.
  • Help – Alums provide a personal touch by volunteering to contact admitted students in the spring or by providing career advice for current students.
  • Connect – We are beginning a new class ambassador program to engage classmates during non-reunion years.

As a Fort Worth resident, how do you see SMU’s role in Dallas, North Texas and beyond?

Fort Worth is home to a large group of alums, and we stand strong to promote SMU, which is positioned to continue to be a driving force providing the talent to fuel businesses and organizations locally, nationally and globally.

Kristin Henderson (right) with R. Gerald Turner, Liz Armstrong and Bill Armstrong at the Distinguished Alumni Awards

As Alumni Board chair, you serve as ex officio to the Board of Trustees. What have been some of the most eye-opening things you’ve learned through this experience about SMU that people should know?

The dedication of the members of the Board of Trustees is remarkable. We are fortunate to have so many high-achieving individuals, business leaders and philanthropists who care deeply for our University and commit a substantial amount of time working for the betterment of our alma mater.