Business leader and philanthropist Jack S. Blanton left mark on SMU

Houston business leader Jack Blanton Sr. and his family have been part of SMU for most of its history.

Jack Blanton Sr.

DALLAS (SMU) – SMU mourns the passing of Jack S. Blanton, a business and civic leader with deep family ties to SMU, who died Dec. 28 in Galveston. The Laura Lee Blanton Building at SMU is named in honor of Mr. Blanton’s late first wife, an SMU alumna and former SMU Trustee.

Jack Blanton Sr.
Jack Blanton Sr.

Mr. Blanton, who had a successful career in the oil industry in Houston and became a noted philanthropist with a keen interest in education, served on the SMU Board of Development in 1959 and the SMU Graduate Associates in 1964.

“The Blanton family has been a part of SMU for almost all of the University’s 100 years of existence,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “While losing Jack Blanton brings sadness to us all, we know that the good work done by Mr. Blanton and his family will go on.”

In 1984, the Blantons and their children, Elizabeth, Jack Jr. and Eddy, donated $1 million to SMU to establish the Elizabeth Scurlock University Professorship in Human Values in honor of Mrs. Laura Lee Blanton's mother. The Blanton family also provided funds to endow five endowed scholarships for SMU's President's Scholars Program, including the Louise Wynn Blanton Scholarship in honor of Mr. Blanton's mother, who graduated from SMU in 1920, and the Alma S. Wynn and Robert Wynn Blanton Scholarship in honor of Mr. Blanton's grandmother and his brother, who attended SMU in the late 1940s.

In 1997, the Blantons gave SMU $5 million toward construction of a new student services building bearing Mrs. Blanton’s name. Also that year, the Blantons gave $1 million for facilities and $1 million for the endowment of a complex for academic development services for undergraduates, to be known as the Laura Lee and Jack S. Blanton Academic Development Complex, a part of the Altshuler Learning Enhancement Center. Mr. Blanton, along with the late Mrs. Laura Lee Blanton, made more than $8.4 million in gifts to SMU during their lifetimes.

Mr. Blanton, whose business involvement was vast, served as director for several companies including the Southwestern Bell Corporation, the Ashland Oil Company, Texas Commerce Bancshares, Baker Hughes Inc., and Burlington Northern Inc.

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