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Founder's Medals

Historical note:

The Founder’s Medals are gold lockets that Southern Methodist University gave people who made donations to the early establishment of the school.  Everyone who received a Medal was a member of the Founder’s Club—or a Founder of the University. The initial contribution goal was $1 million, which was primarily collected from Texans.  Designed by the Chas. M. Robbins Co. of Attleboro, MA, the lockets bear the image of Dallas Hall and the words “Veritas Liberabit Vos” (“The truth shall make you free”).  The Robbins Co. produced the medals in five different grades, which were given to donors based on the size of the donation.  SMU began awarding these medals in 1912 and continued for several years.  Those receiving a medal had donated at least five dollars to SMU – a figure that, adjusted for inflation, now equals $104.75.  Many donated much more than five dollars to support SMU at its founding, such as the members of the “One Thousand Hundred Dollar Club,” a group of 1000 people who each donated $100 to SMU.  In celebration of the many people that made Southern Methodist University possible, a Founders’ Day was started; the first was held on March, 24, 1926.  Regardless of the size of one’s donation, the Founders Medals represent an enduring sense of gratitude on behalf of SMU for those who generously supported the institution’s creation.

Random facts:

  • The straight-edge design was at that time “the most difficult kind to manufacture” and was the “newest style out…”
  • Produced by the Chas. M. Robbins Co., Makers of Enameled Jewelry, in Attleboro, MASS
  • The locket’s design was approved by SMU on July 1, 1912
  • On September 27, 1912, President Robert Hyer sent out the medals to the Founder’s Club
  • several types.  The cost to SMU was:
    • Solid gold at $4.90
    • Quarter gold at $1.75
    • Rolled gold at $1.40
    • Gold filled at $1.05
    • Green gold at $.08
  • The price for lockets went up to $1.90 in 1917
  • Signifies membership to the Founder’s Club of SMU
  • They were given to those who gave more than $5.  That is today’s equivalent of $104.75
  • There were several different Founder’s Clubs.  For example, one, the “One Thousand Hundred Dollar Club”, was a group of 1000 people who each donated $100.
  • Over 1000 of the medals were replaced by the company because of defect
  • In 1914 the company proposed replacing some of the defective ones with sterling silver medals and offering SMU to purchase more at $.55 each
  • The medal shows Dallas Hall and has the words: Veritas Liberabit Vos (“The truth shall make you free”)