Preserving the past for the future

An illustrious gift from Jan and Trevor D. Rees-Jones ’78 benefiting SMU Libraries will strengthen the University’s reputation as a vital center for education and research related to the American West.

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R. Gerald Turner

From the President

Through the generosity of our donors, SMU Ignited has exceeded $1 billion toward our $1.5 billion goal less than two years since our kickoff. Our incredible donors make possible our bold work to blaze new paths and spark world-changing discoveries – and inspire us to do even more.

Campaign quarterly report

Q&A with Caren Prothro

Dallas philanthropist Caren H. Prothro has been a recognizable and vital part of the University’s continued success and growth, serving as a co-chair of the SMU Ignited campaign and, since 1992, an SMU trustee. A passionate advocate for art and education, the former chair of the SMU Board of Trustees continues a long family legacy of enduring friendship to SMU Libraries.


Taking center stage

Philanthropist and Broadway producer G. Marlyne Sexton has made a $15 million gift to SMU Meadows School of the Arts to create a specialization in musical theatre that will prepare graduates for a lifetime of leading roles. The gift will create the G. Marlyne Sexton Institute for Musical Theatre and the G. Marlyne Sexton Director of Musical Theatre.

musical theater

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Meadows Museum celebrates new endowed director

After heading the Meadows Museum for two years as its curator and director ad interim, Amanda Dotseth ’06 has been named the Linda P. and William A. Custard Director of the Meadows Museum. Dotseth has served the Meadows School and museum in varying capacities for over 19 years.


Creating game day memories and bringing excitement to the field

New gifts to the Garry Weber End Zone Complex at Ford Stadium from Richard Ware ’68, J. Stephen Lockton ’89 and Steve Lockton Family Foundation, and Robert Gotovac, Jr. ’86 have contributed $5 million during phase two of the fundraising drive for the project. With construction already underway, SMU Athletics has also shared conceptual interior renderings of the facility expected to open in fall 2024. 

Conceptual rendering of the team lockeroom
Conceptual rendering of the sports performance suite
Conceptual rendering of the west atrium

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Shaping technology experts

A $1.25 million gift from Paula H. Rhines and Walden “Wally” C. Rhines ’75 will establish an endowed professorship within the Lyle School of Engineering. Through their gift, the couple will fuel teaching and research in quantum informatics and its relationship to computer science and/or electrical and computer engineering.

Finding new ways to prevent food waste

With the help of a graduate assistantship from an endowment created by Mary and Rich Templeton, Khengdauliu Chawang ’24 has developed a small, disposable pH detector to monitor food spoilage in real time. Creating the device was personal for Chawang, a Lyle School of Engineering Ph.D. candidate from Nagaland, a remote region in India that relies heavily on agricultural crops.

Making discoveries through training and research

SMU Research and Innovation Week showcases outstanding research being done by graduate and undergraduate students. This year, more than 150 students participated in project presentations on topics ranging from anthropology to engineering. The annual event helps foster communication between students and postdocs in different disciplines and offers them opportunities to build skills by presenting their work in a professional setting.

A decade of impact

Commemorating its decade of impact on the Hilltop, The George W. Bush Presidential Center hosted a special student event on April 13. SMU students were joined by SMU President R. Gerald Turner and his wife, Gail, for a night of food, fun, games and a special after-hours tour of the Bush Center.

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Mustangs on the move

Recent months have included several opportunities for Dedman School of Law donors, alumni and students to connect. In Houston, D. Bobbitt Noel, Jr. ’76 and Karen H. Noel hosted a reception to welcome Dedman School of Law Judge James Noel Dean and Professor of Law Jason Nance, while on campus, the law school hosted the Louise B. Raggio Endowed Lecture Series featuring a conversation with lawyer and human rights activist, Amal Clooney, moderated by Natalie Nanasi, associate professor of law.

Happenings on the Hilltop (and beyond)

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Contact us

We are excited to have Mustangs, SMU family and friends involved in SMU Ignited: Boldly Shaping Tomorrow. To learn more about how you can achieve your philanthropic objectives and about our plans to think big and do good, please contact your representative at SMU or email