SMU Ignited donors help the University blaze new trails, driving positive change and sparking innovation for our students, faculty and community. Below, you can read stories about our donors and the motivations behind the gifts they make – and see examples of how their investments transform lives and communities.
SMU dedicated Frances Anne Moody Hall, the new home of the Moody School of Graduate and Advanced Studies. The facility made possible by a landmark gift from the Moody Foundation provides valuable resources for SMU graduate students, who comprise more than 40% of the student body.
The O’Donnell Foundation advances SMU’s digital future with a $30 million gift to name and endow SMU’s data science institute and support engineering excellence.
Phillips Foundation has announced a $1.7 million multiyear grant to establish the SMU Impact Lab, a student-focused initiative to invest in commercial opportunities that produce substantial financial and social returns.
Jan and Trevor D. Rees-Jones ’78 will strengthen the University’s reputation as a vital place for education and research related to the American West. Their commitment includes a significant portion of the illustrious Rees-Jones Collection of rare books, manuscripts, maps, photographs and ephemera, plus $30 million to create the Rees-Jones Library of the American West.
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 successful performing arts careers. The new G. Marlyne Sexton Institute for Musical Theatre at Meadows School of the Arts will offer one of the few comprehensive training programs for performers and technicians available in a vibrant United States city.
The new Brookshire Scholarship expands the many options SMU offers to enable outstanding students to cost-effectively earn a prestigious bachelor’s degree. The scholarship, an endowment gift by Ann Warmack Brookshire ’77 and Bradley W. Brookshire ’76, establishes a new transfer scholarship for students who complete an associate degree at Tyler Junior College.
A $1 million commitment from an anonymous SMU donor will empower students studying to become spiritual leaders and scholars. Providing funds to the Perkins School of Theology for both endowed and current-use scholarships, the gift will help prepare students for faithful leadership in an ever-changing world and to instill a deeper understanding of the Christian faith.
A $250,000 gift has established the largest ever endowed fund to support SMU spirit programs, in honor of the late Paul Layne ’76, Mustang football superfan and beloved SMU alumnus. Established by Layne’s longtime friend Tom Nelson, the Paul Layne 542 Endowed Excellence Fund for Spirit supports the Peruna program, the Mustang Band and cheer squads.
A $2.5 million gift to support engineering and cyber security research and development has been made by both the Deason Foundation, established by SMU supporter Darwin A. Deason, and his son Doug Deason. The gift builds on the Deasons’ visionary support for SMU Lyle School of Engineering research that addresses the critical needs of businesses around the world.
A landmark $20 million gift from recognized leaders in Dallas philanthropy and technology Mary and Richard Templeton will strengthen the future of education and leadership at the SMU Bobby B. Lyle School of Engineering by funding strategic initiatives for research and educational access and by naming and endowing the school’s dean position.
Amber Bormann ’23, Myles Boateng ’22 (both pictured) and Julie Tran ’23 were profiled in The Dallas Morning News as outstanding students who benefit from SMU efforts to make a college education accessible to people from all backgrounds. SMU expects to expand the program in future years to help more students, thanks in part to SMU Ignited donors.
Stuvyie Coleman ’21 seeks to bring hope and healing to students struggling with addiction and mental health. His personal quest is changing hearts and opening wallets – while saving lives.
The investments in athletics facilities since 2013 help the University attract the best student-athletes and outstanding students looking for a complete university experience. Generous donors and dedicated staff and student-athletes have created a period of unprecedented growth and success with numerous trips to the postseason and conference championships.
On December 2, SMU celebrated the groundbreaking of the Garry Weber End Zone Complex, the expansion and renovation project for Gerald J. Ford Stadium. Part of SMU Ignited: Boldly Shaping Tomorrow, the University’s multiyear $1.5 billion campaign for impact, the new complex will enhance SMU’s campus and community by supporting competitive athletics and diverse programming that build civic pride.
A $5 million gift from SMU alumni Jennifer Gelety Flanagan ’82 and Martin (Marty) L. Flanagan ’82 will strengthen SMU Athletics by supporting the Garry Weber End Zone Complex to expand and improve Gerald J. Ford Stadium. The University is scheduled to break ground on the new complex on December 2, 2022.
NBC5’s Texas Today visited SMU to get an inside look at its renovated visual arts facilities with Meadows School dean Sam Holland and Sophie Kim ’25. They also discuss the role the school plays in the Dallas arts community, how faculty and scholarships attract great students, and offering students both a conservancy-level training the arts and a top-notch science education that can prepare them for medical school.
A $5 million gift from entrepreneurs Elisabeth Martin Armstrong ’82 and William D. Armstrong ’82 will further the academic and research excellence of the SMU Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences by endowing the school’s dean position, renaming it the Elisabeth Martin Armstrong Dean. Through their gift, the Armstrongs will support Dedman College’s future-focused leadership and strategic vision in perpetuity.
Bill Armstrong ’82 and Liz Martin Armstrong ’82 have made a $15 million commitment that will enable SMU to break ground in early December for the Garry Weber End Zone Complex, the expansion and improvement project at SMU’s Gerald J. Ford Stadium, home to Mustang football. The groundbreaking is currently scheduled for December 2, 2022.
New gifts from the Deason Foundation and the Charles Koch Foundation will further the mission of SMU’s Deason Criminal Justice Reform Center within the Dedman School of Law. The foundations previously contributed the initial funds to establish the center in 2016.
SMU Meadows School of the Arts celebrated the dedication of its enhanced visual arts facilities on September 16, 2022. Donors led by The Meadows Foundation, Gene and Jerry Jones, Nancy C. and Richard R. Rogers, and G. Marlyne Sexton and family will fuel creative discovery by future generations of artists, visionaries and scholars from across the world.
The Folsom Institute for Real Estate in the Cox School of Business has launched a dynamic new fund to spur innovative investment, offer hands-on investing opportunities and make a positive impact in underserved communities throughout the state of Texas. The Cox Real Estate Impact Investment Fund is made possible by several SMU donors, including a $1 million lead gift from Mimi B. and William “Bill” H. Vanderstraaten ’82.
The grant will advance research that serves arts organizations, grant-makers, policymakers and the national arts and culture field. In particular, the grant will support three areas: research and insight generation; strategic and business planning; and technology for data collection and integration.
NBC5’s Texas Today discussed the future of one of the best business schools in the country with dean Matt Myers and BBA graduate Greta Felten ’22. They talked about how SMU Cox attracts intellectual capital to North Texas and prepares graduates for the business world of tomorrow. Investments in renovating and expanding the facilities, and in scholarships make the school accessible for people from a wide variety of backgrounds.
Ushering in an exciting new addition to the Hilltop and Mustang Athletics, SMU celebrated the dedication of the new Washburne Soccer and Track Stadium on April 8, 2022. Led by a principal gift from Ray W. Washburne ’84 and Heather H. Washburne, the stadium was made possible by the University’s Mustang fans, generous donors and spirited alumni.
SMU Distinguished Professor Emerita of Art History Alessandra Comini made a $2 million planned gift to SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts, setting the stage for a new generation of the bold, curious and creative to make their own discoveries.
To support students who are the first in their families to complete a college degree in the United States, SMU donors invest in resources like the Academic Center for Excellence, Rotunda Scholars and the First-Generation Initiative, as well as the student-led First-Generation Association. Experience the stories of those who have benefitted from these programs.
The Eula Mae and John Baugh Foundation awarded a $2.7 million, three-year grant to the Baptist House of Studies at the SMU Perkins School of Theology. The contribution will support approximately 10 full-time Baugh Scholars enrolled in Perkins master’s, Doctor of Ministry and Doctor of Pastoral Music degree programs.
A $2 million gift from the O’Donnell Foundation will name and endow the Peter O’Donnell, Jr. Director of the Data Science Institute at SMU. The gift will support the University’s strategic vision to expand research in this rapidly growing discipline by building on previous SMU investments in data science.
NBC5’s Texas Today explored the impact of the University’s commitment to competing at the highest levels. SMU president R. Gerald Turner talked about why SMU invests in athletic excellence and women’s head basketball coach Toyelle Wilson discussed what drew her to SMU and the impact the University makes on the lives of student-athletes.
The addition of the Holt Hickman Outdoor Pool will establish the Robson & Lindley Aquatics Center as the only U.S. university facility with both indoor and outdoor Olympic pools. The pool will be a hub of community engagement and help SMU attract local and national swimming and water polo events to SMU and the city of Dallas.
Elizabeth G. Loboa, SMU’s provost and vice president for academic affairs, and Zhong Lu, the Shuler-Foscue Chair in SMU’s Roy M. Huffington Department of Earth Sciences, have been named fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Election is an honor bestowed by the group’s members for scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications.
The Garry Weber Foundation gives $50 million – the largest gift in the history of SMU Athletics – to create the Garry Weber End Zone Complex. The foundation established by former Mustang football letterman Garry A. Weber ’58 made the commitment in support of a $100 million drive for a new 192,500-square-foot complex at Gerald J. Ford Stadium, part of the $1.5 billion campaign, SMU Ignited: Boldly Shaping Tomorrow.
Environmental science major Isabelle Galko is one of just 41 U.S. university students to earn the prestigious opportunity to pursue graduate studies in the U.K. A President’s Scholarship and the Highland Capital Management Tower Scholar program enabled her to study climate change and policymaking at SMU.
Supported by a gift from the Moody Foundation, SMU breaks ground on the new Frances Anne Moody Hall, which will house SMU’s eighth degree-granting school, the Moody School of Graduate and Advanced Studies.
The collaboration will dramatically boost the University’s high-performance computing system – increasing its memory ten-fold and setting the stage for artificial intelligence and machine learning 25 times faster than current levels. The collaboration will also give SMU faculty, students and research partners in Dallas and beyond the ability to integrate sophisticated AI technology across a wide array of research disciplines.
In an editorial, The Dallas Morning News calls the SMU Ignited campaign "an important investment in the future of North Texas." It adds, "If SMU succeeds here the university will be stronger for it and our city and region will reap benefits from it for generations to come."
With a $2.5 million gift from the Hickman family, SMU will soon break ground for Holt Hickman Outdoor Pool – a new eight-lane, 50-meter by 25-yard outdoor pool, with 1- and 3-meter diving boards and an instructional pool for lessons and rehab/therapy. The addition of the outdoor pool will complete the Robson & Lindley Aquatics Center and make SMU the only U.S. university with both indoor and outdoor Olympic pools in one facility.
As part of SMU Ignited, the Cox School of Business has announced two bold initiatives that will propel us into our next era of innovation: an extensive renovation and expansion project for the Cox School’s buildings and a drive to endow MBA scholarships, empowering the next generation of business leaders to meet grand challenges with meaningful solutions.
A $5 million gift from Katy A. and Kyle Miller ’01 to SMU’s Edwin L. Cox School of Business will create a place that will kindle productive partnerships and cultivate meaningful connections to fuel the success of the Cox community. The Millers’ generous commitment will establish the Katy and Kyle Miller Courtyard – an open, welcoming environment to exchange ideas, form lifelong friendships and build business associations.
NBC5’s Texas Today learns about the SMU Ignited campaign and what it will mean for students, teaching and research, and the campus and larger community. SMU president R. Gerald Turner and SMU Board of Trustees chair Robert H. Dedman, Jr. ’80, ’84 share the impact it will have on academics and athletics – and why the support of donors is vital to achieving the University’s mission.
In a Facebook live event, entrepreneurs Liz Martin Armstrong ’82 and Bill Armstrong ’82 and SMU vice president for development and external affairs Brad Cheves discuss the goals of the SMU Ignited campaign and the impact SMU has on Dallas with FWD>DFW. The forum for the North Texas community created by The Dallas Morning News addresses issues that impact the region’s advancement.
Bill ’74 and Kim Shaddock commit $6 million to Cox School of Business to establish Shaddock Hall as part of the school’s building renovation and expansion project. The gift will foster educational excellence through dedicated spaces for learning, research and collaboration.
Delivering on the promise of partnership with the city it calls home, SMU is launching SMU Ignited: Boldly Shaping Tomorrow to focus on the opportunities created through scholarships, meaningful research and teaching and community. With the support of its donors, the exemplary private University intends to re-imagine the role of education and SMU itself in an era of rapid change.
Anna A. ’87 and Scott J. McLean ’78 pledged $1 million to SMU’s President’s Discretionary Fund to providing critical support to the most pressing needs on campus. Designated for current use, the McLeans’ gift provides SMU with the flexibility to use it where it is most needed.
SMU parents John R. and Stephanie H. Ingram committed to $1 million to drive student success through the Ingram Family Endowed Mustang Scholarship Fund in SMUs Dedman College for Humanities and Sciences. This new endowment will enable top-ranked students to study on the Hilltop and grow as world changers.
The Robson and Lindley families expand their previous support for the Robson & Lindley Aquatics Center by committing further funding to the project, making a big splash in Division I swimming and diving with facilities, coaching and training technology designed to prepare men’s and women’s swimmers and divers for the highest level of competition. Bruce A. Robson ’74 and Emily K. Robson pledged an additional $1 million to their original gift of $3.5 million, and Steven J. Lindley ’74 and Shelli Mims Lindley pledged an additional $500,000 in addition to their original $1.2 million.
Edwin “Ed” L. Cox, Sr. ’42, renowned Dallas business leader, entrepreneur, public servant, educational pioneer and longtime SMU supporter and trustee emeritus, gifted SMU’s Cox School of Business $5 million. The funds will build on his legacy at the Cox School, which bears his name, by supporting its endowment, ensuring students benefit from its top-tier academic and professional programs for generations to come.
Linda P. ’60, ’99 and William A. Custard ‘57 committed $3 million, matched by an additional $3 million from The Meadows Foundation, to establish the new Custard Institute for Spanish Art and Culture within the Meadows Museum. The largest personal contribution in the history of the Meadows Museum, the Custard gift will expand the museum’s current research and educational programs.
A $1 million gift from the Hegi Family will equip students to navigate today’s fast-changing work environment and find lifelong career success through the renovation and expansion of SMU’s Hegi Family Career Development Center. The commitment by the Hegi Family – Fred ’66 and Jan Hegi ’66 and their sons and daughters-in-law, Peter and Amy ’96 and Brian and Elisabeth (Libby) – will modernize conference rooms and the lobby of the center, as well as fund the addition of two new career counselors to equip students with skills that position them for professional success.
A $4 million gift from Mark ’87 and Jennifer ’86 Styslinger and the Altec/Styslinger Foundation will shape and sustain future tennis champions in the newly named Styslinger/Altec Tennis Complex. This gift enables SMU to attract top-ranked student athletes, to build on our excellent tennis programs and to continue partnering with outside organizations for community outreach.
A $5 million gift from Carter Creech ’60, ’63 will empower students to find success and pursue their dreams. Creech’s generous contribution to SMU’s Simmons School of Education and Human Development will establish a transformational Middle School College and Career Readiness program.
Biochemistry major Gabrielle Gard ’22 was named a recipient of the Goldwater Scholarship, one of the premier national science awards for undergraduate students. SMU scholarships and her access to SMU top-tier faculty and ground-breaking laboratories propelled her research and helped her win this honor. Gard seeks to find cures and treatments for drug-resistant cancers.
A $15 million gift from Sharoll and Bryan S. Sheffield ’01 to SMU’s Edwin L. Cox School of Business will empower future entrepreneurs by creating new technology-equipped collaborative spaces. Their generous commitment will establish Bryan S. Sheffield Hall, part of the future Cox School renovation and expansion project, which will provide students with innovative learning environments, enabling Mustangs to develop critical skills that are vital to success in today’s evolving workplace.
The historical and theologically significant collections of the World Methodist Museum move to Bridwell Library, part of the SMU Libraries system and located in Perkins School of Theology, where public exhibits and opportunities for study will ensure the long-term integrity and accessibility of this important resource.
To celebrate 20 years in its home on the Boulevard, The Meadows Museum launched a commemorative exhibition featuring its iconic holdings and honoring its status as one of the premiere organizations housing Spanish Art in the United States. The Museum, located on SMU’s Gift Category, began with a collection started with Algur H. Meadows, who founded The Meadows Foundation.
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 gift 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.
SMU’s AT&T Center for Virtualization entered into a prestigious agreement with the Naval Information Warfare Center Pacific, which will foster new methodologies for mission readiness and provide technological access for future research and development. The AT&T Center for Virtualization was endowed through a gift from AT&T in 2016 and encourages interdisciplinary research to address grand challenges.
A $1 million gift from Gay and William (Bill) T. Solomon ’65 will launch an initiative to restore a historic organ and bring it to Texas, making it the only one of its kind in the state. The Caren and Vin Prothro Organ – named in honor of the Solomons’ dear friends and longtime SMU supporters – will enhance the SMU Master of Sacred Music degree program by enabling organists to train in the liturgical accompaniment of worship and choirs. In addition, the Caren and Vin Prothro Organ will enrich the musical experience of guests to Perkins Chapel, the primary worship setting at SMU.
Josh ’94, ’99 and Lisa Oren ’98 pledged $1 million toward the renovation of the Hughes-Trigg Student Center, home to many student organizations and activities. Their gift will rename the center’s auditorium, a central space designed for faculty, staff, students and visitors to come together.
SMU dedicates the Gerald J. Ford Hall for Research and Innovation, 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.
SMU’s Perkins School of Theology receives a $999,975 grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. to help establish the ‘Testimony as Community Engagement’ program, which will enrich local community congregations. The grant is being made through Lilly Endowment’s nationwide Thriving Congregations Initiative.
SMU’s Darwin Deason Institute for Cyber Security received more than $1 million in research grants from Austin-based Anametric, Inc. for quantum-related research. SMU researchers Mitch Thornton and Duncan MacFarlane are using the grants to investigate new theoretical approaches to enhancing cybersecurity using quantum information and to leverage these approaches to build quantum photonic integrated circuits.
Mathematics professor Vladimir Ajaev was awarded a prominent grant from the National Science Foundation to develop mathematical models to illustrate the spread of diseases in respiratory airways. Although Ajaev’s project’s focus is on the transmission of tuberculosis, its broader societal impacts include transformational potential applications to other infectious diseases such as influenza and COVID-19.
Eight Dallas ISD teachers were selected from more than 400 applicants to receive the inaugural Kathryne and Gene Bishop Endowed Scholarships. Created in 2019 to enable Dallas ISD teachers to pursue master’s degrees in education from SMU’s Simmons School of Education and Human Development, the Bishop Scholarships will empower public school teachers to be leaders in the field of education.
A $7.5 million gift from Jane R. and Pat S. Bolin ’73 to SMU’s Edwin L. Cox School of Business will foster collaboration inside and outside the classroom, and strengthen students’ advanced data analysis skills. The Bolins’ gift will combine with a $7.5 million designation by Gina L. and Tucker S. Bridwell ’73, ’74 from their previously announced gift to create the new Bolin-Bridwell Hall, part of the future Cox School renovation and expansion project. Bolin-Bridwell Hall will offer a learning environment that mirrors the evolving workplace and uses the latest technology to build students’ data fluency
For 20 years, Gerald J. Ford Stadium has hosted Mustangs, friends, families and community members as they cheer on SMU athletes, celebrate their graduates and participate in SMU summer programs. Kelli O. and Gerald J. Ford provided the lead gift to build the stadium in 2001.
An $11.5 million gift from Aurelia and Brad Heppner ’88 and family to SMU’s Edwin L. Cox School of Business will strengthen the school’s commitment to fostering the leadership skills of tomorrow’s executives and investing in groundbreaking research that impacts the business world. The Heppners commit $10 million to establish the Heppner Family Commons, creating a new hub for collaboration between members of the Cox School and SMU community, and a centerpiece of the future Cox School renovation and expansion project. Additionally, $1.5 million to support Cox faculty research will be received from the Heppner Endowments for Research Organizations (HERO).
Pastor Richie Butler ’93 creates opportunities for transformative conversations about race and inequality through Project Unity. A member of the SMU Board of Trustees and the Dedman College Executive Board, Butler draws from his experiences at SMU as a student athlete and scholarship recipient. He and his organization provide a place for seeking commonalities and connection despite our differences.
A $15 million gift from Gina L. and Tucker S. Bridwell ’73,’74 to SMU’s Cox School of Business will generate transformational economic research and cutting-edge business education for generations to come, through the creation of the new Bridwell Institute for Economic Freedom. The Institute is a research institute in SMU Cox School of Business that will examine and promote free enterprise in markets around the globe.
SMU researchers began developing an innovative way to detect the presence of antibodies in response to COVID-19 faster and more accurately than traditional testing methods. This is one example of pioneering SMU faculty research that promises to transform our community for the better.
SMU seismologist Brian Stump and his research team were awarded an $18 million grant from the U.S. Department of Defense for their Seismic-Acoustic Monitoring Program IV. By monitoring global acoustic and seismic waves, the program helps experts better understand man-made events and predict natural phenomena.
SMU’s eighth degree-granting school opens, bringing with it a strong commitment to graduate-level education and an unprecedented investment in SMU and its students. The Moody School of Graduate and Advanced Studies school was established through a landmark $100 million gift from the Moody Foundation.
To honor her mother’s dedication and lasting impact on Meadows School, the daughter of Martha Raley Peak ’50, Martha Peak Rochelle, commits $2.4 million to the school, with $2 million earmarked to endow the Peak Fellowship Ensemble-in-Residence and an additional $400,000 to be used for operational funding which will empower students with access to master artists and opportunities to perform in Dallas.
Chair of the Computer Science Department and Bobby B. Lyle Endowed Centennial Distinguished Chair in Cyber Security Frederick Chang assembled an interdisciplinary team to assist in research to help the treatment of COVID-19. Working with faculty, students and volunteers, Chang and his team worked to develop a search engine to accelerate access to knowledge that might help in the fight against the global pandemic.
SMU’s Moody School of Graduate and Advanced Studies welcomed its inaugural group of Moody Dissertation Fellows, who constitute the best and brightest SMU graduate students. Four students received the financial award, including Simmons School Ph.D. candidate Veronica Mellado De La Cruz whose research focuses on early reading assessments for bilingual students and a Dedman College student Laura Ammerman who is working on curtailing Alzheimer’s.
Building on the successful conclusion of Pony Power, the three-year $150 million drive in which donors gifted current-use funds and provided critical support during the pandemic crisis, the SMU Board authorizes the Pony Power Plus fundraising drive. With a start date of June 1, the new drive seeks to secure at least $50 million a year in annual investments and additional support for the Presidential Fund for Immediate Needs – a new fund to provide scholarships, grants and additional support for first-year and returning students whose families have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Cox School of Business celebrated the 100th anniversary of business education at SMU, awarding namesake Edwin L. Cox, Sr. ’42 with the inaugural Cox Visionary Award. The highly-rated Cox School continues to shape world changers and create new opportunities for entrepreneurs and community leaders as it prepares students to take the lead in future businesses.
Joie Lew ’23, a recipient of SMU’s Emergency Student Grant, credits the funding for helping them finish their freshman year. They expressed both steadfast perseverance and deep gratitude in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, reminding donors that their support can make a huge difference in a Mustang’s life.
Building on the scholarship that supported his studies at SMU, Karl V. Mendel ’42 left behind an enduring legacy, bequeathing $1.7 million to fund SMU scholarships for students pursuing degrees in history. Despite coming from modest means and spending his career in public service, Mendel established an endowment at SMU during his life to establish a legacy that will benefit generation to come.
When social distancing prevented individuals for seeking much-needed in-person help, the SMU Center for Family Counseling offered free telehealth counseling services during the pandemic to anyone who found themselves in need. The clinic, associated with SMU’s Master’s in Counseling program, provides a variety of counseling services to adults, adolescents and children.
SMU hosted its sixth annual Battle to Save Lives case competition in which impact grants were awarded to groups proposing measures to stem the spread of COVID-19 on university Gift Categoryes. This partnership with UT Dallas and REVTECH Ventures also included a panel of SMU judges like Dr. Peter K. Moore, Associate Provost for Curricular Innovation and Policy, and Dr. K.C. Mmeje, Vice President for Student Affairs.
Named for SMU supporter Darwin Deason, SMU’s Deason Innovation Gym combated the PPE healthcare shortage by printing and assembling over 1,200 face shields for frontline workers. Seth Orsborn, professor and director of the Deason Innovation Gym, and Alyssa Phillips, its lab manager, led the charge to support health workers in the North Texas community.
Owned and operated by SMU professor Owen Lynch, Restorative Farms transitioned during the pandemic to selling GroBoxes, personal box gardens to help individuals grow their own food. Restorative Farms is a self-sustaining nonprofit organization that not only grows food, but also trains and nurtures local urban farming professionals.
SMU’s Residential Commons encourage connections and build community on the Hilltop. Funded with gifts from SMU families and supporters, the Residential Commons provide a home for Mustangs for their first two years at SMU, where they often learn as much about themselves as they do about one another. Whether meeting a new best friend or baking cookies, SMU students learn from peers from all majors and a diversity of identities.
A $5 million gift from Heather and Ray W. Washburne ’84 and family establishes the Washburne Soccer and Track Stadium, which will enable SMU to continue to offer the best opportunities, resources and facilities to help our students succeed in all their endeavors
Lifelong friends Beth McKeon ’02, co-founder and CEO of Fluent, and Jaime Noble Gassmann ’02, COO of Fluent, credit SMU scholarships with making their academic ambitions affordable. A Hunt Leadership Scholar and a SMU President Scholar respectively, McKeon and Gassmann’s connection led not only to a friendship, but to a successful business venture with foundations from their time on the Hilltop.
Building on a lifetime passion for social justice, Ashlee Hunt Kleinert ’88 and Chris Kleinert ’88 commit $1 million in support of SMU’s Human Rights Program and the Dedman College Scholars program to help young people boldly change the world.
Meadows School of the Arts celebrated the renovation kickoff of the Owen Arts Center, powered by generous commitments The Meadows Foundation, Gene and Jerry Jones, Nancy C. and Richard R. Rogers, and G. Marlyne Sexton. The $34 million initiative improved academic spaces in the north wing for visual arts, art history and creative computation, while creating grand, welcoming and accessible exterior entrances.
The largest gift in SMU history, a landmark $100 million commitment from the Moody Foundation, launches Moody School of Graduate and Advanced Studies. As the University’s eighth degree-granting school, Moody School begins operation during the 2020–21 academic year.
With funding from the Perkins School of Theology and the SMU University Research Council, a team of researchers led by Theodore Walker, Jr. discovered the lost manuscript of a book by pioneering African-American scientist Ernest Everett Just (1883-1941), who taught biology in the department of zoology at Howard University from 1909 to 1941.
Empowering engineering education and research, Lyle School namesake Bobby B. Lyle ’67 designated $10 million to power a new strategic vision for the school, supporting the Lyle Future Fund and two strategic portfolios. The bold future-focused model combined innovation, agility and swift responses to shifts in technological capabilities with enduring institutional support.
Carolyn L. and David B. Miller ’72, ’73 make SMU history with a $50 million gift to Edwin L. Cox School of Business, supporting the school’s strategic plan to enhance its facilities and curriculum, offer new and broader scholarships and create new interdisciplinary programs that reach across SMU’s Gift Category and beyond.
The SMU community celebrates the dedication of the Indoor Performance Center, featuring Armstrong Fieldhouse, made possible by SMU alumni Bill Armstrong ’82 and Liz Armstrong ’82 and the Armstrong Foundation. This multipurpose space supports SMU’s commitment to competitive, high-performance athletics at SMU.
SMU law professors Keith Robinson and Natalie Nanasi created the new Texas Fresh Start app to empower human trafficking victims with assistance by SMU student attorneys. By streamlining the process for clearing the criminal records of these victims, The Texas Fresh Start app gives them a fresh start and hope for the future.
SMU assistant professor of chemistry Tom Runčevski and his team received a $195,000 grant for research to determine if Saturn’s icy moon, Titan, has ever been home to life before NASA completes an exploratory drone mission. The grant funded an experiment to reproduce what is happening on Titan in a laboratory setting.
Former Hunt Leadership Scholar Courtney Caldwell ’00 and her husband Tye reinvented the beauty salon industry by utilizing the same technological know-how and perseverance that served Caldwell through her years at SMU. Their new app, ShearShare, matches salon and barbershop owners with hair, skill and nail techs seeking to rent space by the day.
An anonymous Dedman Law alumnus gifts $2 million to the Tsai Center for Law, Science and Innovation to support its endowment and current operational funding and provide additional resources for research grants, programs and curricula. The gift amplifies the center’s profile as a leader in multidisciplinary research and scholarly debate surrounding new technologies.
A $2 million planned gift from Anne R. Bromberg honors her late husband, Dedman Law Professor Alan R. Bromberg. The bequest includes a $1.5 million endowment to establish the Anne and Alan Bromberg Chair in Meadows School of the Arts, as well as unrestricted funds to be divided among Dedman Law, Meadows School and the Meadows Museum, supporting transformative scholarships, groundbreaking research and the arts.
Researchers at SMU’s Center for Drug Discovery, Design and Delivery (CD4) found success with new a method to conduct chemotherapy, allowing for better absorption and more potentially effective ways of treating resistant cancers. Their approach could pave the way for a more effective way to treat cancers that are resistant to treatment.
A $5 million gift from Hal and Diane Brierley supports the Brierley Institute for Customer Engagement. The gift enhances the institute’s M.B.A. curricula and scholarships, funds early-career faculty research and connects customer engagement professionals with businesses in Dallas and beyond.
Former SMU Engaged Learning Fellow and Maguire Public Service Fellow Nicolás González ’16 impacts the City of Dallas through art exhibits, community art programming and a desire to make art publicly accessible and culturally relevant. The intimacy of SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts allowed González to work closely with a number of the program’s faculty, who encouraged him to take his painting in new directions.
Transfer Scholarships fuel academic achievement in students like Jennifer Perez ’19 and Yann Olanade ’18. Hailing from Honduras and the Ivory Coast, these outstanding Mustangs were awarded funding to come to the Hilltop and take what they learned out into the world, making it a better place. Both pursued degrees at SMU’s Cox School of Business.
Jerry Bywaters Cochran, daughter of renowned Texas artist Jerry Bywaters ’27, donates more than two dozen works of art to the University Art Collection, overseen by the Meadows Museum. This gift promises to enhance SMU’s collection and research offerings. The gift includes four paintings by her father and additional materials that expand the Jerry Bywaters Collection on Art of the Southwest housed in SMU’s Hamon Arts Library.
Through partnerships with the City of Dallas and powered by SMU donors, SMU researchers and students like senior Azucena Milan ’20 study infrastructure deserts and inequalities throughout the DFW landscape. Lyle School of Engineering students and faculty used drones, smart phone applications, artificial intelligence and other high-tech tools to document and analyze infrastructure conditions.
SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts celebrated the 50th anniversary of its naming, honoring SMU donor and art collector Algur H. Meadows with its annual spring concert in support of The Meadows Foundation. The event raised funds to support talented Meadows’ students through the Meadows Scholars Program and featured the critically acclaimed Meadows Symphony Orchestra and the students of the Meadows Dance Ensemble performing three new works.
A total of 3,250 donors from 45 states, the District of Columbia and eight countries give more than $1.397 million in 24 hours during SMU Giving Day.
Joining forces with Dallas nonprofit Literacy Instruction for Texas (LIFT) to battle adult illiteracy, SMU’s innovative learning game won its development team a place among five finalists in the Barbara Bush Foundation Adult Literacy XPRIZE. The SMU-LIFT team, PeopleforWords, won $1.5 million as a grand prize winner and an additional $1 million achievement award
Prominent Dallas business leaders and major SMU supporters Linda Wertheimer Hart ’65 and Milledge (Mitch) A. Hart, III boost SMU’s ability to cultivate and launch entrepreneurs with a significant gift. The Linda and Mitch Hart Institute for Technology, Innovation and Entrepreneurship at SMU will combine the innovative forces of SMU’s Cox School of Business and Lyle School of Engineering.
Linda Hart establishes The Milledge A. Hart, III Scholarship Fund for Veterans of the United States Marine Corps to honor her husband on his 85th birthday, which provides funding for military veterans to pursue programs in SMU’s innovative graduate education in engineering and business schools.
SMU’s Perkins School of Theology receives a five-year, $1 million Lilly Endowment Inc. grant to strengthen youth ministries at churches without a full-time youth minister.
Biological sciences major Noelle Kendall ’19 combined her interest in medicine with public policy as a Highland Capital Management Tower Scholar at SMU. She said, “Becoming a Highland Capital Management Tower Scholar is one of the best things that has happened to me during my time at SMU because it has opened my mind to things that I would have never learned otherwise.”
Katy and Kyle ’01 Miller commit $1 million to establish the Katy A. and Kyle D. Miller Energy Management Endowed Scholarship Fund, which equips students with mentors and real-life experience in the industry.
A major exhibit of ancient fossilized sea creatures planned and prepared by a team of SMU scientists and SMU students opened at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. The exhibit, “Sea Monsters Unearthed,” was led by collaborating curator and SMU Professor Emeritus of Paleontology Louis Jacobs.
UT Southwestern Medical Center psychiatrist Sherwood Brown and SMU psychologist Thomas Ritz were awarded a $2.6 million grant from the National Institute of Health to study the connection between asthma and diminished cognitive function in middle-to-late-age adults. The study builds on the work Brown and Ritz have accomplished with a core group of researchers over a period of eight years.
Ford Research Fellows, supported by gifts from Gerald J. Ford ’66, ’69 and his family, used SMU’s supercomputer to advance chemistry breakthroughs. Using the unique software, the SMU scientists identified weak bonds (easy to break) and strong bonds (difficult to break) in water molecule clusters, producing a class-written peer-reviewed article ready for publication.
SMU physicist Jodi Cooley joined an international scientific team of 111 scientists from 26 institutions to investigate the nature of dark matter through an innovative new experiment, the SuperCDMS SNOLAB. Scientists, like Cooley, are using the best theories about dark matter to build elaborate detectors, trying to catch the phantom by whatever glimmer it leaves behind.
A $1 million National Science Foundation grant empowered SMU math educator Candace Walkington to work with young students to forge their own path to learning algebra. Her project examines how different scaffolding approaches to STEM career problem-posing affect the problems posed by students and the interest and knowledge that they gain.
The Meadows Museum hosted its inaugural Masterpiece Gala, with proceeds launching an endowment fund for the museum’s Director of Education position, which oversees education programing, develops new engagement initiatives and coordinates the museum’s partnerships with regional schools. The Gala included a private tour of the exhibition, Dalí: Poetics of the Small, 1929–1936.
Rich and Mary Templeton commit $5 million to create the Templeton Endowed Research Excellence Fund for pressing research at Lyle School, funding new opportunities for bold change and ground-breaking research.
Toyota USA Foundation grants $2 million to SMU’s Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development as part of a collaboration with Dallas ISD to create of a new and innovative STEM-focused school in West Dallas. Simmons School develops curricula, advises on state-of-the-art educational practices, provides professional development for teachers, coordinates nonprofits operating in the area, and monitors and evaluates the program.
A winner of SMU’s Big iDeas pitch contest, Neha Husein ’19 transformsed a terrifying experience into an innovative safety measure through Just Drive, her mobile app which awards points to drivers for safe driving. Just Drive users collect points that can be redeemed for products and services, so they are rewarding themselves for resisting the temptation to use their phones.
SMU’s National Center for Arts Research announces a merger with Philadelphia-based DataArts, combining to become SMU DataArts and building on two histories of excellence in cultural and artistic research. The two are joining forces to strengthen the national arts and cultural community through data, the knowledge that can be generated from it, and the resources to use it.
A $1 million gift from SMU parents Daniel M. Doyle, Jr. and Nicole Kudelko Doyle ’94 supports SMU’s highest priorities in providing outstanding academic experiences for all Mustangs.
SMU biologist Santosh D’Mello was awarded $2.5 million in grants from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke to study two fatal brain disorders. D’Mello’s laboratory is also funded by two additional awards from the NIH to study brain degeneration and how a protein called heat shock factor-1 protect brain cells from degenerating.
SMU receives more than $5 million from the estate and other planned gift vehicles of the late Jeanne Roach Johnson ’54 that creates need-based scholarships for women in Cox School of Business and contributes $1 million to Meadows School to fuel the arts.
A $1.25 million gift from the Hoblitzelle Foundation contributes to the Owen Arts Center transformation at Meadows School of the Arts. The Owens Art Center will serve as a catalyst for Meadows to attract the next generation of talented and diverse visual artists, art historians and multidisciplinary creatives and draw scholars and visitors from across the region and around the world.
A $3 million gift from an anonymous donor and $1 million from The Meadows Foundation creates the new Robert B. Rowling Center for Business Law and Leadership in SMU’s Dedman School of Law. The new center is named in honor of the owner and chairman of TRT Holdings Inc., the holding company for Omni Hotels and Resorts and Gold’s Gym International, as a reflection of the business leader’s excellent example of business achievement, community engagement and civic contribution. The center will train the next generation of prominent legal and business leaders and influence national conversations surrounding business and corporate law.
A $2 million gift from retired SMU faculty member Andrew H. Chen and his wife, Elaine T. Chen, establishes The Andrew H. Chen Endowed Chair in Financial Investments Fund in Cox School of Business. Andrew, who retired as professor emeritus of finance in 2012, said he and his wife wanted to ensure that Cox School will continue to attract outstanding finance faculty. The gift includes $1.5 million for the endowment of the faculty chair and $500,000 for operational support available for immediate use.
A $400,000 seed challenge from SMU stalwarts Carl Sewell ’66 and Peggy Higgins Sewell ’72 brings in more than $834,000 in gifts and pledges for academic scholarships combined with unique programming for academically gifted students in SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Science. The new funding allowed SMU to offer 20 new four-year scholarships – nearly double the number available in past years.
SMU mechanical engineering student Aleena Taufiq ’18 inspires and prepares middle-school students through Geared Up, her afterschool STEM engagement program. Thanks to SMU’s Engaged Learning Fellowship and the assistance of generous donors, the program expanded to schools across the nation.
More than 2,200 alumni, parents, students, faculty, staff and friends contribute over $747,824 during the annual Mustangs Give Back, later renamed SMU Giving Day. The 24-hour fundraising event supports over 80 projects across Gift Category.
A $2 million gift from the Hamon Charitable Foundation supports expanding SMU’s Lyle School of Engineering summer camps for underrepresented high school and middle school students and establishes college scholarship opportunities for attendees who go on to study engineering at SMU, fueling the next generation of engineers.
SMU receives a significant gift from Dallas business leaders Linda Wertheimer Hart ’65 and Milledge (Mitch) A. Hart, III for the Gerald J. Ford Hall for Research and Innovation, which empowers interdisciplinary collaboration and enterprise. The new facility is now home for the Linda and Mitch Hart eCenter, which includes SMU Guildhall, the highly ranked graduate game design program.
Kelvin Beachum ’11, ’12, NFL offensive tackle, gifted $100,000 to support SMU’s Civil Rights Pilgrimage, renaming the program the Dennis Simon Endowed Civil Rights Pilgrimage in honor of Beachum’s former mentor and SMU political science professor. Beachum was one of nine finalists for the 2017 Philanthropist in Sports Award, presented by All Sports United.
Dedman College Scholarship recipient Sam Weber ’18 exemplifies SMU’s enterprising spirit. Graduating with a B.A. in chemistry, a B.S in biological sciences and minors in Latin, Classical Studies, Musical Theatre, History and Human Rights, Weber says that everything he’s done or achieved at SMU helped prepare him for medical school.
Contributions of more than $5 million from a consortium of donors honor SMU alumnus and energy industry leader Kyle D. Miller ’01, and create the Kyle D. Miller Energy Management Program and the Kyle D. Miller Energy Scholarship Fund in Cox School of Business. A portion of the gift also supported the SMU Indoor Performance Center, featuring Armstrong Fieldhouse.
SMU broadened eligibility for scholarship recipients by partnering with Dallas County Promise to fund five new scholarships for students in Dallas County high schools. The expanded program, the Dallas County Mustang Scholarship, awarded up to 10 four-year combined scholarship packages worth more than $225,000 each to cover full tuition and fees for eligible students in Dallas County.
A $1 million gift from the Moody Foundation supports the Meadows School renovation, adding new space for the divisions of Art, Art History and Creative Computation, as well as research opportunities for SMU’s Simmons School that expands cross-disciplinary research.
SMU receives a $15 million gift from the Nancy Ann Hunt Foundation to endow the University’s signature Hunt Leadership Scholars Program. The nationally recognized scholarship program for SMU attracts academically gifted and exceptional service-driven student leaders from across the country.
SMU economist Danila Serra was honored as the inaugural recipient of the $50,000 Vernon L. Smith Ascending Scholar’s Prize, dubbed by the foundation as a “budding genius” award, for her research on economics, corruption and bribery. Serra launched and is co-leader of the Laboratory for Research in Experimental Economics.
SMU dedicated the Robson & Lindley Aquatics Center, the new home of SMU’s international championship swimming and diving programs. The 42,000 square foot center, located on the University’s east campus, makes a big splash in Division I swimming and diving with facilities, coaching and training technology designed to prepare men’s and women’s swimmers and divers for the highest level of competition.
Building on a history of service and remembrance, a $100,000 gift from Senator Sam Johnson ’51 established The Honorable Sam Johnson Endowed Military Scholarship Fund, which supports education for military veterans, and preserved his personal and professional papers and materials to aid future research about the military.
The Payne Stewart SMU Golf Training Center, which promises to help train the next generation of top-tier golfers, was dedicated at Trinity Forest Golf Club in honor of 1989 PGA Champion Payne Stewart ’79. This Center would not have been possible without the support of well-known SMU community members and organizations.
SMU math education experts Leanne Ketterlin Geller and Lindsey Perry were awarded a $2.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation to research and develop an educational assessment system to target students’ struggles with math in the United States, thus enriching STEM education.
A $1.5 million gift from former SMU swimmer Joseph M. “Jody” Grant ’60 and his wife, Sheila Peterson Grant, helps fund the University’s new Robson & Lindley Aquatics Center, creating a home for the University’s internationally recognized men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams.
SMU alumnae prepare young girls to become strong women with their pioneering approach to combining STEAM curriculum at Solar Preparatory School for Girls. In partnership with Dallas ISD and fueled by their education at SMU Simmons School, Nancy Bernardino ’01, ’04, ’05; Jennifer Turner ’16; Cynthia Flores ’00, ’17 and Ashley Toole ’16 empower young girls to become future leaders in STEAM fields.
A $5 million gift from Gene and Jerry Jones, matched by a $5 million grant from The Meadows Foundation, launches the renovation of Owen Arts Center at Meadows School of the Arts by creating the Gene and Jerry Jones Grand Atrium and Plaza. The $34 million project updates existing spaces and adds new space for the divisions of Art, Art History and Creative Computation, empowering the arts for generations to come.
A collaboration between SMU Meadows and Dallas Theater Center created new ways of enjoying performance art with a production of William Shakespeare’s The Tempest, funded through SMU Ignite/Arts Dallas contributions, a commitment from SMU and generous donations from SMU community members.
Pony Power, a three-year giving “stampede” focused on yearly investments that strengthen current efforts in every area of the University, launches. The drive is co-chaired by Carl Sewell ’66 and Caren H. Prothro.
SMU scholarship recipient and Hamilton Scholar and Embrey Human Rights Program Community Outreach Fellow Dominique Earland ’17 developed a toolkit to empower high-risk mothers by helping them understand and track their Dallas healthcare options. Generous scholarship funding supports students like Earland as they shape the world, creating a better future for all people.
Powered by SMU’s Judge Elmo B. Hunter Legal Center for Victims of Crimes Against Women, students at the Dedman School of Law published a report on Dallas’ gun-surrender program, examining its effect on domestic violent offenders and their ability to safely surrender firearms to the police. The report offers clear and crucial information to advocates in the community who try to prevent domestic.
SMU chemistry professor Brian D. Zoltowski and his team discovered vital information about the chemistry of photosynthesis. With funding from the National Institute of Health and the American Chemical Society’s Herman Frasch Foundation for Chemical Research Grants in Agricultural Chemistry, Zoltowski’s study may one day help farmers grow crops under conditions or in climates where they currently can’t grow.
Students in the Hunt Institute for Engineering and Humanity introduced their solution to creating efficient, low-cost spaces to grow food: a working, mobile greenhouse renovated from an old camping trailer. This Earth Day project built on the Hunt Institute goal to research and implement innovative and sustainable solutions to local and global poverty.
SMU Mission Foods Texas-Mexico Center celebrated its opening and first symposium, featuring a keynote address from Geronimo Gutierrez, Mexico’s ambassador to the United States. This action-oriented, research policy center aims to understand and explore the dynamic political, cultural, economic and business relationship between Texas and Mexico.
SMU’s graduate video game education program Guildhall won top honors when The Princeton Review named it the No. 1 graduate game-design program in the world. Attracting top-tier students from around the globe, this innovative program draws sought-after talent to Dallas and promises to transform the future of gaming.
SMU professors Pia Vogel and John Wise have been working with graduate and undergraduate students, like Patricia Nance ’17, on research into mechanisms that some cancers use to evade chemotherapy. Nance received crucial support from the Hamilton Undergraduate Research Scholars Program, which challenges students to take what they learn in the classroom and apply it to capstone-level research.
Funded with a gift from the VanSickle Law Firm, the VanSickle Family Law Clinic is among community clinics that open doors to legal services for low-income North Texas residents unable to afford representation. Student attorneys assist in cases concerning divorce, child custody, visitation, paternity, child and spousal support, and adoption proceedings.
A $2 million gift from SMU trustee emeritus and longtime benefactor Cary M. Maguire endows the directorship of the Cary M. Maguire Center for Ethics and Public Responsibility in honor of the center’s founding director, ethicist William F. May.
A $2.5 million gift from AT&T endows the new AT&T Center for Virtualization and funds research to support the fast, reliable, cloud-based telecommunications necessary for global connectivity.
A $1.7 million grant from the Texas Instruments Foundation provides funds for the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Academy for Dallas ISD teachers at SMU’s Simmons School of Education and Human Development, empowering young people to meet the needs of the future workforce and find success.
A $10 million gift from Diane and Hal Brierley creates the Brierley Institute for Customer Engagement at SMU’s Edwin L. Cox School of Business, the first U.S. academic institute for educating customer engagement leaders.
Charles Koch Foundation gives $3.5 million to match the Deason Foundation’s earlier $3.5 million gift to create the Deason Criminal Justice Reform Center in SMU’s Dedman School of Law, which conducts innovative research and educational programs to address the need for reforms in the U.S. criminal justice system.
GRUMA-Mission Foods gives $3 million (in addition to a previous $1 million) to create the Mission Foods Texas-Mexico Center in SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, which expands SMU’s study of the important relationship between Texas and Mexico.