Moody Foundation gift to support SMU arts facility renovation and education research

Meadows School of the Arts and Simmons School of Education and Human Development to directly benefit from longtime SMU benefactor's gift

DALLAS (SMU) – A $1 million gift from the Moody Foundation will support renovation of Meadows School of the Arts facilities and key education research by Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development.

Renovation of Owen Arts Center will update existing spaces and add new space for the Divisions of Art, Art History and Creative Computation. At the Simmons School, the gift will expand cross-disciplinary research with other SMU schools as well.

SMU Campus"This gift goes to the heart of SMU's academic mission and purpose and being a premier research and teaching institution," said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. "We are delighted to partner with the Moody Foundation again to achieve our academic goals."

"We are pleased to be able to continue the Moody Foundation's interest in the arts and our longstanding commitment to education research in Texas," said Frances Moody-Dahlberg, Chairman and Executive Director.

SMU Provost Steve Currall thanked the Moody Foundation, noting the appropriate timing of the gift.

“This generous gift could not come at a better time as our culture of innovation gains momentum across campus,” Currall said. “It’s another example of the Moody Foundation’s commitment to SMU and the quality of its academic programs."

The Moody Foundation commitment will support the first phase of a plan to renovate Owen Arts Center, transforming four floors in the north wing of the building for the Divisions of Art, Art History and Creative Computation. The project also will restore the original Meadows Museum and create a new art studio.  The Meadows Museum moved from Owen Arts Center to its current location in 2001. Exterior entrances will be enhanced to become welcoming spaces for those attending exhibitions and performances presented by Meadows students, faculty and guests.  To date, SMU has raised $17.1 million of the total $34 million project cost.

"The education and experiences of arts students will be strengthened by these elegantly renovated facilities," said Sam Holland, dean of Meadows School of the Arts. "These collaborative and inviting spaces will attract a talented and diverse community of artists and scholars to SMU and the community."

The Moody Foundation gift also will support education research and interdisciplinary collaboration at the Simmons School, recognized for its strengths in evidence-based education research. Its faculty has produced research as well as curricular and assessment tools designed to assist teachers in delivering highly effective instruction.

“This gift will facilitate additional research opportunities in Texas, bringing new knowledge and opportunities to underserved areas in the state,” said Stephanie Knight, dean of the Simmons School. “It will also build on the collaborative research with SMU faculty members in other schools, ultimately benefiting the education community and students of all ages.”

SMU has enjoyed a long-term partnership with the Moody Foundation, said Brad Cheves, SMU vice president for Development and External Affairs.

“We are grateful for the Moody Foundation's incredible support through the years," Cheves said. "This most recent gift to enhance arts facilities and education research at SMU is just the latest example of the Moody Foundation's visionary thinking in support of our students and faculty."

About the Moody Foundation

SMU and the Moody Foundation have enjoyed a long partnership, beginning with a 1965 gift in support of the SMU Coliseum on campus that, in acknowledgement, was renamed Moody Coliseum.  A $20 million gift from the Moody Foundation in 2011 provided the impetus for the coliseum's extensive expansion and renovation.

William L. Moody, Jr., and his wife, Libbie Rice Shearn Moody, laid the groundwork for the family’s dedication to community involvement when they established the Moody Foundation in 1942 in Galveston, Texas. The foundation was created to benefit present and future Texans, and starting in the 1960s, it began awarding grants throughout the state, often focusing on capital projects for private colleges and universities, as well as support for children’s health projects, libraries and historical preservation initiatives. In more recent decades, investments in foundation-initiated projects related to traumatic brain injury and the development of tourism in the Galveston area have been a major focus. As the reach of the foundation expanded and strengthened, the need for a permanent location in North Texas became evident and, in 1996, an office in Dallas was established.


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