$2 million gift from Mary and Richard Templeton funds new SMU Lyle School Centennial Chair

A gift from Mary and Richard Templeton will create a faculty position in electrical engineering.

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DALLAS (SMU) – A gift of $2 million from Mary and Richard Templeton to create a new endowed faculty position in electrical engineering in SMU’s Bobby B. Lyle School of Engineering will support an outstanding faculty member in an academic discipline dedicated to designing the most sophisticated technology of the 21st century.

SMU Board of Trustees Chair Michael M. Boone, SMU President R. Gerald Turner, Mrs. Gail Turner, Richard Templeton, Mary Templeton, daughter Stephanie Templeton, engineering student Elizabeth (Liz) Dubret, Lyle Engineering School Dean Marc P. Christensen, and Brad E. Cheves, SMU Vice President for Development and External Affairs.
Gift Announcement: (l. to r.) SMU Board of Trustees Chair Michael M. Boone, SMU President R. Gerald Turner, Mrs. Gail Turner, Richard Templeton, Mary Templeton, daughter Stephanie Templeton, engineering student Elizabeth (Liz) Dubret, Lyle Engineering School Dean Marc P. Christensen, and Brad E. Cheves, SMU Vice President for Development and External Affairs.

Their gift establishing the Mary and Richard Templeton Centennial Chair of Electrical Engineering provides for a $1.5 million endowment and $500,000 in operational support.  The special centennial designation underscores the foresight of donors who recognize the need for operational funds to allow immediate impact while the endowment matures.

“This commitment is meaningful because it comes from a family of engineers who understand the reach of science and technology,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “The Templetons know better than most how their gift will help SMU attract outstanding faculty in this important engineering discipline, and how it will influence students and prepare them to contribute to the engineering profession.”

Richard Templeton is president and CEO of Texas Instruments, and Mary Templeton is a computer scientist. They were together on the SMU campus last May as Mr. Templeton delivered the commencement address at the Lyle School and as their son, Jim, received his own bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering.

“The SMU formula for success is to combine bright, motivated students with talented, innovative faculty members,” said SMU Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Paul Ludden.  “This gift of an endowed chair gives us the ability to attract and support a strong, academic leader in the field of electrical engineering.”

“Electrical engineering spans a broad set of technologies underlying an incredible list of technological marvels ranging from sophisticated cellphones, to biomedical devices, to smarter cars, and even the production of green energy,” said Lyle Dean Marc Christensen. “This generous gift from the Templetons will allow us to attract top-tier talent who will bring his or her expertise to bear on real world research challenges while enhancing our excellence in the classroom.”

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The search to fill the Mary and Richard Templeton Centennial Chair of Electrical Engineering is underway.

“An outstanding faculty member can spark creative ideas in a student who goes on to change the world with an invention, or lead research that reveals a different way of looking at an old problem,” said Mr. Templeton. “It means a great deal to us to be able to help support that kind of educator.”

“Jim had such a wonderful experience at SMU that we want to help ensure the same access to superior faculty members for students who come after him,” said Mrs. Templeton.

“We recognize that the generous gift of this endowed Centennial Chair is a measure of trust from Mary and Rich Templeton, and a testament to the critical partnership between SMU faculty and students,” said Brad Cheves, SMU Vice President for Development and External Affairs. “Generations of SMU students will reap the benefits of the faculty excellence this endowment will support.”

Mary Templeton is a philanthropist and community volunteer who had a 14-year career with General Electric Company (GE) before moving to Dallas.  She has served on the boards of trustees for her alma mater, Union College, the University of Dallas, John Paul II High School, Ursuline Foundation, the Southwest Region Boys and Girls Club of America, AT&T Performing Arts and the Dallas Arboretum.  Mrs. Templeton is a member of the Advisory Council of The Catholic Foundation.  In 2011 she received the 29th Catholic Foundation Award for her support of Catholic education.

Templeton Family: (l. to r.) Nephew William Templeton, Richard Templeton, Mary Templeton, son Jim Templeton and daughter Stephanie Templeton.
Templeton Family: (l. to r.) Nephew William Templeton, Richard Templeton, Mary Templeton, son Jim Templeton and daughter Stephanie Templeton.

With more than 30 years of experience in the semiconductor industry, Richard Templeton has been chairman of the board at TI since 2008, and president and CEO since 2004.  In addition to his TI duties, Mr. Templeton serves on the board of the Semiconductor Industry Association, the board of directors of Catalyst, and the board of trustees for Southwestern Medical Foundation.  He is also a member of the Business Roundtable and the Dallas CEO Roundtable. In addition, Mr. Templeton has led TI’s United Way campaign for many years, and he served as chair of the 2012-2013 United Way of Metropolitan Dallas campaign. He is a member of the SMU Board of Trustees and also serves on the executive boards for the Lyle School of Engineering and the Cox School of Business. 

Under Mr. Templeton’s leadership, TI and the TI Foundation have invested generously in programs designed to strengthen global education programs, including K-12 STEM teaching and student achievement.  The TI Foundation maintains a strong partnership with SMU, supporting ambitious programs that break through roadblocks to diversity and support innovation in engineering education.  The TI Foundation endowed the Texas Instruments Distinguished Chair in Engineering Education and the directorship of the Caruth Institute for Engineering Education at SMU’s Lyle School in 2008. Members of TI leadership have served on SMU’s board of trustees and provided guidance to other University committees and groups for decades.

The gift to fund the Mary and Richard Templeton Centennial Chair of Electrical Engineering counts toward the $1 billion goal of SMU Unbridled: The Second Century Campaign, and toward the campaign’s goal to reach 110 endowed faculty positions.  To date the campaign has raised more than $902 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.

Electrical Engineering at the Lyle School

Electrical engineering faculty and students at SMU’s Lyle School focus their research and studies on analog and digital circuit design, novel antenna architectures, photonics, signal processing, wireless networking and the smart grid.

SMU Lyle School of EngineeringThe undergraduate curricula equips graduates for careers that require ingenuity, integrity, logical thinking, and the ability to work and communicate in teams, and for the pursuit of graduate degrees in engineering and other fields, such as business, medicine, and law. Ph.D. programs prepare graduates for academic careers, high-tech research careers or technical entrepreneurship.

Undergraduate students in electrical engineering are exposed to, and participate in, research beginning in their first year of study. The department provides a holistic learning experience covering both fundamental theories and extensive experimental/hands-on opportunities.

SMU’s Bobby B. Lyle School of Engineering is dedicated to educating the next generation of engineering leaders and conducting research that addresses current needs and anticipates future challenges. As a key component of its strategic plan, the school continues to recruit talented and visionary faculty who advance this education and open new vistas of exploration and inquiry. The Lyle School is expanding its partnerships with businesses and industries to serve as a center of innovation for applied research and technology, developing solutions to pressing real-world problems.


SMU is a nationally ranked private university in Dallas founded 100 years ago. Today, SMU enrolls nearly 11,000 students who benefit from the academic opportunities and international reach of seven degree-granting schools.