One of SMU’s most cherished and recognizable structures, Gerald J. Ford Stadium has come to represent athletic distinction and Mustang pride at SMU alongside the University’s long-held tradition of tailgating dubbed “boulevarding” along Bishop Boulevard before football games. Celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2020, the stadium was made possible by and named for SMU Trustee Gerald J. Ford ’66, ’69, who was joined by dedicated Mustang alumni, donors and community members.
“Gerald J. Ford Stadium has greatly enriched the history of SMU, and the Garry Weber End Zone Complex will extend and expand that impact well into future,” said Brad E. Cheves, SMU vice president for Development and External Affairs. “We are forever grateful to donors like the Armstrongs who pave the way to a better future for our students, our University and our world.”
Bill Armstrong ’82 and Liz Martin Armstrong ’82
Liz Martin Armstrong ’82 and Bill Armstrong ’82 met as geology majors at SMU and married in 1984. While at SMU, Bill was a member of Phi Gamma Delta fraternity, the Honor Council and the Phi Beta Kappa Society. Liz served as treasurer of Pi Beta Phi and performed in Pigskin Revue and Parents’ Weekend with its song group. She also served as an AARO, or orientation, leader. Both attended geology field camp at SMU-in-Taos, where they fell in love and later provided the funding for Casita Armstrong. Together, they propelled a startup into Armstrong Oil and Gas, an energy exploration juggernaut; founded the award-winning Epoch Estate Wines; and established The Armstrong Foundation, which focuses on arts and education philanthropy. Over the years, their farsighted generosity has enriched countless lives at SMU and across the nation.
Through their leadership and loyal support, the Armstrongs have been changemakers at SMU. Bill Armstrong serves on the SMU Board of Trustees and co-chairs the Campaign Steering Committee for Athletics. He currently spearheads the Vision 2025 campaign for football excellence. Liz Armstrong serves on the Development and External Affairs Standing Committee of the SMU Board and co-chairs the Campaign Steering Committee for Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences. Both also serve on the executive boards of SMU-in-Taos and Dedman College, for which Liz is a former chair. Their past service includes co-chairing the Parent Leadership Council and the Second Century Campaign Steering Committee for Denver.
Recipients of the 2021 Distinguished Alumni Award, the Armstrongs are among three generations of family to attend the University – including their daughters, Lindsey Strawn ’10 and Leigh Young ’11 – and their investments across the campus reflect their commitment to enhancing the student experience. In 2011, they were the first to commit toward the construction of Armstrong Commons, a cornerstone of SMU’s living-learning community. More recently, they made possible Armstrong Fieldhouse, the primary component of the Indoor Performance Center. A passion for ballet led them to fund the Armstrong Visiting Artist-in-Residence in Ballet at Meadows School of the Arts during the 2020–21 academic year, and they also endowed a Dedman College Scholarship.
SMU Ignited: Boldly Shaping Tomorrow
SMU is the nationally ranked global research university in the dynamic city of Dallas. SMU’s alumni, faculty and more than 12,000 students in eight degree-granting schools demonstrate an entrepreneurial spirit as they direct change in their professions, communities and the world. Building on its history of excellence, the University has launched SMU Ignited: Boldly Shaping Tomorrow – a multiyear $1.5 billion campaign to empower outstanding students, to enrich teaching and research, and to enhance our campus and community.