SMU receives the Hispanic College Fund’s Legacy Award

SMU receives the Hispanic College Fund’s Legacy Award for leadership and investment in a diverse student population.

Dallas Hall at Southern Methodist University

DALLAS (SMU) – SMU will receive the Hispanic College Fund’s Legacy Award for leadership and investment in a diverse student population during the 16th Annual Portraits of Success gala held on Friday, Oct. 30, 2009, in Washington, D.C. This year marks the first time that an educational institution has received this honor, which is typically given to federal agencies.

SMU was chosen for its exceptional commitment to the recruitment of Hispanic students, the level of support provided to the Hispanic Youth Symposium, its community leadership and the ability to create a genuine community-led event.

This summer, SMU hosted Texas’ first Hispanic Youth Symposium, a program to promote higher education to at-risk Hispanic youth in partnership with the Dallas Independent School District, Carrollton-Farmers Branch Independent School District and the Social Security Administration. In addition to the Legacy Award, the gala honors 477 scholarship recipients and corporate supporters of the organization. SMU representatives accepting the award on behalf of the University include Associate Provost Thomas Tunks, SMU Meadows School of the Arts Dean Jose Bowen and Associate Director of Diversity and Community Outreach Raul Magdaleno.

SMU President R. Gerald Turner said the Legacy Award coincides with SMU’s goal to attract more Hispanic students.

“We are committed to broadening our outreach efforts to Hispanic students,” Turner said. “At SMU, they bring important perspectives and enrich the campus experience for all students. These are the men and women who will be leading our region and nation in all areas of achievement.”

George Cushman, vice president of programs for the Hispanic College Fund and co-founder of the Hispanic Youth Symposium, believes the Symposium was life changing for the 178 Dallas-area Hispanic students who participated, and says that SMU’s contributions were key to setting the students on a path to success.

“These students are now on the right track to graduate from high school, attend college and pursue a professional career,” Cushman said. “We honor SMU with this award for being an exemplary partner in the launch of the Dallas Hispanic Youth Symposium. The University’s commitment to reach these students was shown through its leadership, financial support, generous in-kind donations and the many community volunteers who participated in the event.”

Jose Bowen, dean of SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts, believes this is the ideal partnership and a perfect way to bring the Dallas Hispanic community and SMU together.

“The Hispanic College Fund has been a terrific partner for SMU as we worked together to bring the first Hispanic Youth Symposium to Texas this summer,” Bowen said.  “I am very proud of SMU’s commitment to our Hispanic students and expanding opportunities for everyone in our community.”

SMU’s Associate Director of Diversity and Community Outreach Raul Magdaleno says the reward is in helping the students and seeing what they take away from the Hispanic Youth Symposium experience.

“Although it is truly an honor to have been selected for such a prestigious national award, our greatest reward was the opportunity to witness the positive change in the lives of these high school students,” Magdaleno said. “All they needed was for someone to believe in them.”


A private university located in the heart of Dallas, SMU is building on the vision of its founders, who imagined a distinguished center for learning emerging from the spirit of the city. Today, 11,000 students benefit from the national opportunities and international reach afforded by the quality of SMU’s seven degree-granting schools.