Expanding a championship site

SMU joins short list of universities with indoor and outdoor Olympic pools at the same facility

 

SMU celebrated the future of Mustang swimming and diving with the dedication of the Holt Hickman Outdoor Pool on December 8, 2023. With the new pool, SMU becomes one of the few prestigious collegiate institutions with both indoor and outdoor 50-meter long-course pools in the same complex, including Texas, Auburn and Tennessee.

 

The newest addition to the Robson & Lindley Aquatics Center was named for the late Holt Hickman ’54, esteemed SMU alumnus and former Mustang swim team member. The facility was made possible by lead gifts to the aquatics complex from the Robson, Lindley and Hickman families and generous contributions from many other SMU donors.

Holt Hickman treasured his experiences on the SMU swim team and would be proud to be forever connected to SMU swimming and to future generations of SMU student-athletes.

— Jo A. Hickman, philanthropist and wife of Holt Hickman

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“Holt Hickman embodied Mustang strength and pride,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “Through the Holt Hickman Outdoor Pool, our donors are commemorating a true visionary and continuing his legacy of excellence in our aquatics programming and across our University.”

 

By enhancing our campus and community for future generations of SMU students and student-athletes, the new pool addresses one of the core goals of SMU Ignited: Boldly Shaping Tomorrow, the University’s multiyear campaign for impact. The facility also strengthens the University’s offerings as it prepares to enter the Atlantic Coast Conference on July 1, 2024, joining some of the nation’s top institutions. Since 2013, donors to SMU Athletics have invested more than $250 million toward championship-caliber facilities that reflect the University’s commitment to excellence.

 

“Holt was an enthusiastic Mustang with treasured memories from his experiences as a member of the SMU swim team. My family is pleased to honor him through this new addition to the University,” said Jo A. Hickman, philanthropist and wife of Holt Hickman. “Holt would be proud to have his name and memory forever connected to the SMU swimming facilities that will support and train future generations of student-athletes.”

 

The Holt Hickman Outdoor Pool will be a hub of community engagement and help SMU and Dallas attract local and national swimming and other water sports events. With the dedication of the pool, the University celebrates the conclusion of the Robson & Lindley Aquatics Center’s second phase of construction, with over 200 donors contributing to this stage of the project. Originally opened in 2017, its first phase was made possible by 400 donors from across the University and included 42,000 square feet of indoor training, competition and administrative spaces. Now in its sixth year of operation, the aquatics center has hosted the last three American Athletic Conference Championships.

 

With the Holt Hickman Outdoor Pool, SMU is even better positioned to attract exceptional student-athletes as we enter the ACC in 2024.

— Rick Hart, SMU Director of Athletics

 

“My family believes in the power of SMU’s swimming and diving teams and in investing in its future growth and success,” said Bruce Robson ’74, managing partner of Robvest Texas, LLC and co-chair of the Athletics Campaign Steering Committee for the SMU Ignited campaign. “I cherish my memories of being an SMU swim team member, and I look forward to seeing how the Holt Hickman Outdoor Pool will help future generations of swimmers create their own beloved memories.”

 

The SMU swimming and diving programs boast a proud history, highlighted by the men’s and women’s teams earning 61 conference championships and qualifying for more than 100 appearances at the NCAA national championships. SMU swimmers and divers have earned 58 national titles and been honored as All-Americans over 1,400 times. Six Mustangs have been recognized as NCAA Swimmer of the Year or Diver of the Year. SMU men’s and women’s swimmers have qualified for 118 Olympic appearances since 1952, winning eight gold medals, eight silver medals and four bronze medals.

 

Expected impact

  • Establishes SMU as one of few collegiate institutions with both indoor and outdoor Olympic pools in the same complex.
  • Builds on a legacy of proud Olympians, world record holders and 155 national titles.
  • Will serve as a hub of community engagement and help SMU attract local and national swimming and water sports events to SMU and the city of Dallas.

“SMU Athletics appreciates the enduring impact that former student-athletes and their families continue to have on our programs,” said Rick Hart, SMU director of Athletics. “With the Holt Hickman Outdoor Pool at the Robson & Lindley Aquatics Center, SMU is even better positioned to attract exceptionally talented student-athletes as we enter the ACC in 2024.”

 

In recent years, SMU swimming and diving teams have achieved great success in and out of the pool. The men’s swimming team has won the last three American Athletic Conference Championships. In the classroom, the team has also earned CSCAA Scholar All-America Team honors with several student-athletes earning CSC All-District honors. Since 2017, five Mustang men’s and women’s divers have won 20 conference championships, four All-America honors and several automatic bids to the NCAA Championships.

 

“The generosity of the Robson, Lindley and Hickman families and their fellow donors is shaping the future of SMU Aquatics and the opportunities it creates for its student-athletes,” said Brad E. Cheves, SMU vice president for Development and External Affairs. “They spur SMU toward a bright future of excellence, both for its academic and athletic programs.”

My family believes in the power of SMU’s swimming and diving teams and in investing in its future growth and success.

— Bruce Robson, Robvest Texas, LLC Managing Partner

Holt Hickman ’54

Holt and Jo Hickman
Holt and Jo Hickman
Holt Hickman was a North Texas visionary, known for his business acumen and hometown spirit. A proud SMU alumnus, Hickman was also a member of the SMU men’s swim team. He competed for Coach Alfred “Red” Barr and alongside George “Mac” McMillion, the namesakes of Barr-McMillion Natatorium. From 1952 to 1954, Hickman helped SMU to two Southwest Conference championships and won multiple freestyle sprints. Hickman generously supported SMU Athletics, donating to the construction of Ford Stadium and other facilities.

 

 

He served as a first lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force and later founded Lone Star Manufacturing Co., which became the world’s largest automotive HVAC system company. His business accomplishments extended into commercial and industrial real estate with the founding of Hickman Investments, and the entertainment business with his ownership in Billy Bob’s Texas. The latter investment rekindled Hickman’s love of the Fort Worth Stockyards, inspiring him to purchase over 78 acres and buildings in the historic district for several preservation and restoration initiatives.

 

Hickman was named Business Man of the Year by the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce, Fort Worth Business Press and Texas Wesleyan University. During his life, he served on the executive committee of the Fort Worth Convention & Visitors Bureau, SMUs Mustang Club board, the City of Fort Worth Police Award Foundation and the Fort Worth Mayors Board. In 2011, Hickman was given the key to the city of Fort Worth in recognition of his lifetime of achievements and contributions.

Bruce A. Robson ’74 and Emily Robson

Former SMU swimmer Bruce Robson earned a bachelor’s degree in business from SMU in 1974. Since 1993, he has served as managing partner of Robvest Texas, LLC. He is former president and CEO of Robson Petroleum Company and president of the Nick and Alma Robson Foundation. The Robsons, who are current SMU parents, have been generous contributors to SMU Athletics, the Cox School of Business, the Simmons School of Education and Human Development and the Lyle School of Engineering. Bruce Robson is a member of the SMU Board of Trustees, serves on the Cox Executive Board, and also serves as co-chair of the Athletics Campaign Steering Committee for SMU Ignited: Boldly Shaping Tomorrow. He previously served on the Athletics Steering Committee for the SMU Unbridled campaign. Emily Robson, a graduate of the University of Virginia and the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, previously served as a member of the executive board of the Simmons School.

Steven J. Lindley ’74 and Shelli Mims Lindley

Steven Lindley is president of Johnson & Lindley LLC, a family-owned investment firm. He is also a managing partner of PinHigh Capital Partners and was in senior management of Athlon Solutions, Permian Mud Service Inc. and Champion Technologies Inc. His support of SMU swimming and diving dates to his friendship with Sigma Alpha Epsilon roommate and SMU swimmer Bruce Robson and his respect for Coach George McMillion. Lindley, a 1974 graduate of SMU’s business school, currently serves as a member of the Cox Executive Board and the National Campaign Steering Committee for SMU Ignited: Boldly Shaping Tomorrow. He previously served SMU as a member of the Houston Steering Committee and Perkins School of Theology Steering Committee for the SMU Unbridled campaign and as a member of the executive boards of SMU Alumni, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences and Perkins School. Shelli Lindley currently serves on the Glasscock Foundation Board of Trustees in Houston and previously served as a member of the executive board of the Simmons School.

The Hickman family

Honoring the memory of their father and husband, the Hickman family made a significant gift to commemorate Holt Hickman’s accomplishments at SMU, his years of dedication as a Mustang student-athlete and his lifetime of work on behalf of the University and its initiatives. Led by his surviving wife, Jo Aycock Hickman, Holt Hickman’s family and legacy are continued through his son, Bradley Holt Hickman, Sr.; his daughter, Brenda Lynn Kostohryz. The Hickman family’s generosity is furthered by his daughter-in-law, Cynthia Autry Hickman, son-in-law George Kostohryz, Jr, granddaughters, Margaret Hickman Lane, Keely Kostohryz Nezworski and grandsons, Bradley Holt Hickman, Jr; Clifton Autry Hickman; George Kostohryz III; Kelly Bryce Kostohryz; and Holt Carlos Kostohryz. Brad Hickman and Bradley Holt Hickman, Jr lead the Hickman Companies, a business collective which continues to expand its commercial real estate, oil and gas and entertainment industry holdings throughout the Dallas Fort Worth metroplex.

 

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.