New Caruth Hall Extends SMU Engineering's Outreach

SMU's new Caruth Hall, dedicated Friday, extends the reach of the Lyle School of Engineering.

Caruth Hall rendering

DALLAS (SMU) – SMU’s Bobby B. Lyle School of Engineering gained a powerful platform for developing innovation for a global society with the dedication Friday of the new Caruth Hall.

Designed to meet Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green building standards, Caruth Hall’s more than 64,000 square feet of space will house the Lyle School’s broad-based outreach efforts – ranging from a national program to encourage K-12 students in engineering careers to sophisticated distance education classrooms.  It includes a large, flexible laboratory space for around-the-clock team research projects, will house two academic departments and an institute dedicated to finding engineering solutions to aid the global poor. The Hillcrest Foundation Amphitheater, located between the two wings of the new Caruth Hall, creates a new venue for outdoor campus events.

“This spacious new building for the Lyle School represents the best of both worlds,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “Outwardly, it reflects the University’s architectural tradition, yet inside contains all of the innovations and upgrades needed to help our students and faculty excel and to extend their expertise to solutions to world problems. It’s the perfect example of a local resource that will have a global impact. The donors to this project have given us a tremendous gift for today and for the future.”

Leadership commitments toward the project goal of more than $26 million include $7.5 million from the W.W. Caruth, Jr. Foundation Fund of Communities Foundation of Texas, $4 million from Robert and Rebecca Palmer of Houston, $2 million from the Hillcrest Foundation of Dallas, $1.5 million from the J.E. and L.E. Mabee Foundation of Tulsa and $1 million from Bobby B. Lyle. The most recent gift is $1 million from Mary Alice Shepherd and on behalf of her deceased husband, Texas Instruments pioneer Mark Shepherd, Jr.

The construction of Caruth Hall is part of the largest fundraising initiative in SMU history – SMU Unbridled: The Second Century Campaign, now in its second year. The campaign seeks $750 million to strengthen the University's student quality, faculty and academic excellence, and the campus experience.

“The longstanding partnership between SMU and the Caruth Family has flourished in the common goal of empowering students to find creative solutions to a world of challenges,” said Brent Christopher, president and CEO of Communities Foundation of Texas. “Just as Will Caruth, Jr. was committed to bold giving in the education arena, Communities Foundation of Texas has been honored to help continue that tradition.  Seeing the new Caruth Hall open for business on the site of the original feels very right.”

The new building is nearly double the size of the original Caruth Hall, historic home to SMU engineering from 1948 to its demolition in 2008. But pieces of the old building have been incorporated into the new as a tribute: Four verdigris lamps that hung from the original exterior have been installed on the new building’s southeastern face, and a carved limestone doorway from the old building’s east side has been repurposed as an entrance to a first-floor lounge area that also incorporates bricks from the original Caruth Hall in its interior walls.

“Over the last six decades, we have been blessed with so many fantastic students who received their engineering education in Caruth Hall,” said Lyle School Dean Geoffrey Orsak. “I am very excited that future generations of Lyle engineering students will be able to experience a new Caruth Hall that will help change the face of engineering.”

SMU’s Bobby B. Lyle School of Engineering, founded in 1925, is one of the oldest engineering schools in the Southwest, offering eight undergraduate and 29 graduate programs through five core academic departments. The Lyle School is committed to developing a new generation of engineers, prepared to excel and lead in creating new economic opportunities while addressing the most difficult challenges facing society.

Caruth Hall is the third SMU engineering building completed in the last eight years.

The new building completes the final facility construction in developing SMU’s East Quad, which includes the Embrey and Junkins engineering buildings, the Blanton Student Services Building and the Collins Executive Education Center.

The new facility will be home to:

  • The Caruth Institute for Engineering Education
  • The Hunter and Stephanie Hunt Institute for Engineering and Humanity
  • The Center for Engineering Leadership
  • The Lockheed Martin Skunk Works® Lab
  • The Palmer Engineering Leadership Complex
  • The Departments of Engineering Management, Information and Systems
  • The Department of Computer Science and Engineering

Find more information about these and other Lyle School programs, centers and institutes at

A private university located in the heart of Dallas, SMU enrolls nearly 11,000 students from across the United States and around the globe through seven degree-granting schools. SMU’s School of Engineering, founded in 1925, is one of the oldest engineering schools in the Southwest. In 2008 the school was named in honor of Dallas business leader and SMU alumnus Bobby B. Lyle. The school offers eight undergraduate and 29 graduate programs, including both master’s and doctoral degrees.