SMU Receives $45 Million Gift from the Meadows Foundation, Largest Single Gift to University

The gift, the largest in The Meadows Foundation’s history, includes $25 million to support goals and programs at the Meadows Museum

The Meadows Foundation, Inc. has pledged $45 million to SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts and the Meadows Museum, the largest single gift in SMU history. With this commitment, The Meadows Foundation has provided more than $100 million to the University since 1995.

“SMU has enjoyed a long and productive partnership with The Meadows Foundation, one initiated by Algur H. Meadows himself through the endowment of the Meadows School and the creation of the Meadows Museum,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “The resulting collaboration has enhanced the lives of thousands of students, faculty and members of the local, regional and international communities. This year, as we celebrate both the 50th anniversary of the Meadows Museum and the centennial of SMU’s opening, we are honored to accept a gift that will continue this extraordinary partnership.”

The $45 million gift, the largest in The Meadows Foundation’s history, includes $25 million to support goals and programs at the Meadows Museum, which houses one of the largest and most comprehensive collections of Spanish art outside of Spain. The gift designates $13 million for exhibitions, education programs and initiatives; $6 million for acquisitions; and $6 million for an acquisition challenge grant. In addition, the gift will help the Museum expand relationships with international cultural institutions and enhance its reputation as the center for Spanish art in the United States.

The Meadows Foundation gift also designates $20 million to the Meadows School of the Arts to support its goal to lead the nation in arts education. The funding will be used to attract and retain top faculty and students, create and maintain innovative programs of national importance and provide enhanced studio, gallery and state-of-the-art classroom spaces. The gift designates $12 million for facility enhancements, including a $10 million challenge grant, and $8 million for student and faculty recruitment and retention, as well as new strategic initiatives.

“Algur H. Meadows’ vision of an innovative school of the arts and a museum of international distinction has been realized in the Meadows School of the Arts and Meadows Museum,” said Linda P. Evans, chairman and CEO of The Meadows Foundation. “This historic gift recognizes their remarkable transformations over the past two decades, as well as the talented leadership in place at SMU. It also serves as a strategic investment in the dynamic futures of the Meadows School of the Arts and the Meadows Museum, serving diverse audiences around the globe.”

The Meadows Foundation is a private philanthropic institution established in 1948 by Algur H. Meadows and his wife, Virginia, to benefit the people of Texas. Since its inception, the Foundation has disbursed more than $700 million in grants and direct charitable expenditures to more than 7,000 Texas institutions and agencies. The Meadows Foundation’s primary areas of giving are arts and culture, civic and public affairs, education, health, and human services, in addition to initiatives focused on the environment, mental health and public education.

The Meadows School of the Arts was named in 1969 in honor of Algur H. Meadows, its primary benefactor. The School offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in advertising, art, art history, arts management, communication studies, creative computation, dance, film and media arts, journalism, music and theatre. As a comprehensive educational institution, the Meadows School of the Arts seeks to prepare students to meet the demands and opportunities of professional careers. A leader in developing innovative outreach and community engagement programs, the School challenges its students to make a difference locally and globally by developing connections between art and entrepreneurship.

The Meadows School of the Arts also is a convener for the arts in North Texas, serving as a catalyst for new collaborations and providing critical industry research.

“This generous gift will help the Meadows School to maintain and continue its historic journey as a national model for arts education,” said Sam Holland, the Algur H. Meadows dean of the Meadows School of the Arts. “We are honored to reflect Algur Meadows’ legacy with a School that continues to create and maintain important programs and initiatives in the arts.”

In 1962 Dallas businessman and philanthropist Algur H. Meadows donated funds to establish a museum at SMU to house his private collection of Spanish paintings. The Meadows Museum in Owen Arts Center opened to the public in 1965. With a $20 million gift from The Meadows Foundation in 1998, its largest gift at that time, a new museum building was constructed on campus to provide an appropriate home for the internationally acclaimed and growing Spanish art collection. Important international relationships formed since then include the 2010 partnership with the Museo Nacional del Prado of Madrid, enabling loans of important paintings, jointly organized exhibitions and international fellowships for pre- and post-doctoral scholars specializing in Spanish art. Funds from The Meadows Foundation also have made possible the continued acquisition of masterpieces such as Portrait of Mariano Goya, the Artist’s Grandson, by Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes. Today the Museum is home to works ranging from the 10th to 21st centuries.

In 2015 the Museum is celebrating its 50th anniversary with a series of exhibitions, publications, special events and educational programs that will attract international attention and visitors. Special golden anniversary exhibitions include “The Abelló Collection: A Modern Taste for European Masters” (April 18-August 2, 2015), consisting of approximately 100 works from the 15th to the 21st centuries; and “Treasures from the House of Alba: 500 Years of Art and Collecting” (September 4, 2015-January 3, 2016), with more than 100 European works, including paintings and tapestries, as well as manuscripts of Christopher Columbus. Both exhibitions are private Spanish collections that have never before been seen in the United States. Planning for this landmark year has been made possible by a 2013 grant from The Meadows Foundation.

“The exhibitions and events planned for the Museum’s golden anniversary will showcase the Museum’s international influence and academic and cultural leadership as we begin our next 50 years,” said Mark A. Roglán, the Linda P. and William A. Custard Director of the Meadows Museum and Centennial Chair in SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts. “As we celebrate the important role the Meadows Museum plays as an educational and cultural leader, we also honor the pivotal role the Meadows family and Foundation have played in the creation and incredible growth of the Museum.”

The Meadows Foundation gift counts toward the $1 billion goal of SMU Unbridled: The Second Century Campaign. To date, the campaign has raised more than $942 million in gifts and pledges to support student quality, faculty and academic excellence and the campus experience. The campaign coincides with SMU’s celebration of the 100th anniversary of the University’s founding in 1911 and its opening in 1915.

Meet the SMU Meadows Faculty