Hart Gift to Benefit U.S. Marine Corps Vets

Military veterans aspiring to SMU’s innovative graduate education in engineering and business have a new scholarship opportunity with The Milledge A. Hart, III Scholarship Fund for Veterans of the United States Marine Corps.

DALLAS (SMU) – Military veterans aspiring to SMU’s innovative graduate education in engineering and business have a new scholarship opportunity with The Milledge A. Hart, III Scholarship Fund for Veterans of the United States Marine Corps. The endowed fund was established in January by prominent Dallas business leader Linda Wertheimer Hart ’65 to honor her husband, SMU Trustee Emeritus Milledge (Mitch) A. Hart, III, on his 85th birthday. The Harts are among SMU’s most generous donors.

“We thank the Harts for their generous and wide-ranging support of visionary initiatives at SMU,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “Having Mitch Hart, a Marine Corps veteran who served our country with distinction, associated with this scholarship will hold special meaning and be a point of pride for the military veterans on our campus who will benefit from it as they pursue advanced degrees.”

Each year, in perpetuity, the scholarship will support one or two graduate students who are U.S. Marine Corps veterans and enrolled in the Lyle School of Engineering or the Cox School of Business – and may be applied to tuition, fees, housing, meals, books or supplies.

“Providing learning environments and new opportunities at SMU for students to pursue bold ideas has brought both Linda and me such joy,” said Mitch Hart, a Distinguished Graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy who served five years as an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps. “A scholarship in my name that opens doors for military veterans heading toward boundless achievement is a wonderful tribute.”

Graduate programs in the Cox School and the Lyle School have the highest enrollments of military veterans, and both schools offer additional financial aid options as well as transitional and educational support.

“The Marine Corps values have guided Mitch’s life. Ethical leadership, service, determination and integrity are qualities that we should be fostering in leaders who will inspire others to take on the world’s challenges,” Linda Hart said. “Mitch has always led by example, and I can think of no better way to pay tribute to him than a scholarship that supports Marine Corps veterans as they prepare to change the world in innovative ways.”

SMU ranked No. 31 for best national universities for veterans, according to the 2019 edition of U.S. News & World Report’s Best Colleges. This newest commitment by the Harts adds to other SMU resources that support veteran students, including the Veterans Tutoring Veterans program and the Veterans Center, a gathering space for study and fellowship. In addition, the SMU MilVets campus student organization, founded by student veterans, offers social support and service opportunities. The SMU student community currently includes 150 veterans – 106 graduate students and 44 undergraduates – using the VA educational benefits they earned through military service. Fifty dependents (spouses or children) also attend SMU with the help of VA benefits. They include eight graduate students and 38 undergraduates.

In addition to the new scholarship fund, Linda and Mitch Hart have founded, supported and enhanced many educational opportunities at SMU.

The Harts made a significant gift to establish the Linda and Mitch Hart Institute for Technology, Innovation and Entrepreneurship at SMU in January 2019. The Hart Institute will amplify the University’s impact as a powerful engine of regional economic development and job creation. Their visionary support builds upon SMU’s existing expertise in business and engineering, creates a new concept-to-prototype pipeline and provides the resources, inspiration and guidance students and faculty need to turn their business plans into viable enterprises.

In 2018 they committed a significant gift to the Gerald J. Ford Hall for Research and Innovation, for which SMU celebrated the groundbreaking on February 22. Ford Hall will house the University’s Linda and Mitch Hart eCenter, which includes SMU Guildhall, the world’s top-ranked graduate game design program. The Harts also have made gifts to support the Hart Global Leaders Forum and the Hart Center for Engineering Leadership. Both serve on the board of directors for the Tate Distinguished Lecture Series, and both have led the board as chairs. They received SMU’s Mustang Award in 2003 in recognition of their exceptional philanthropic support of the University.

Linda Hart, a graduate of the SMU School of Law, is Vice Chairman, President and CEO of Hart Group, Inc. and former Chairman of Imation Corp. Ms. Hart is a Trustee of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, D.C., is Past Chairman of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra Association and also has been an active leader in the Dallas Citizens Council, Dallas Opera, International Women’s Forum – Dallas, the Greater Dallas Chamber of Commerce, the Texas National Research Laboratory Commission, the International Women’s Forum Leadership Foundation and the Dallas Women’s Foundation. Ms. Hart is former Chairman and current ex officio member of the Legal Advisory Committee to the New York Stock Exchange and serves on a variety of corporate and civic boards, including Executive Boards of SMU’s Dedman School of Law and Cox School of Business.

Mitch Hart, a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, served as an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps and is SMU Trustee emeritus. He serves on SMU’s Lyle School Executive Board and on the DEA Standing Committee for the SMU Board of Trustees. In 2017, Mr. Hart received the USNA’s Distinguished Graduate Award, the highest honor given by the Naval Academy to its graduates and is a Dallas Business Hall of Fame Laureate. He is Chairman of Hart Group, Inc., founding Director and former Chairman of Episcopal School of Dallas, and a former Trustee and Trustee emeritus of Duke University. In 1985, he endowed the Hart Leadership Program at Duke University’s Terry Sanford Institute of Public Policy, and he and Ms. Hart served on the Institute’s Board. A member of World Presidents’ Organization, Chief Executives Organization and the Executive Board of the Boy Scouts of America, he has served on numerous business and civic boards. He also served on SMU’s Second Century Campaign’s Leadership Council and the Lyle School of Engineering’s Campaign Steering Committee. He was Co-chair of the SMU Dedman College Capital Campaign Committee during SMU’s Time to Lead Campaign from 1997–2002.

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