DALLAS (SMU) — A gift of $2.2 million to Southern Methodist University from the Embrey Family Foundation will establish a pilot human rights education program in Dedman College and provide support for basketball and soccer facilities.

“We deeply appreciate the Embrey Family Foundation’s support for the kind of programs that provide a well-rounded collegiate experience for our students,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “The creation of a pilot program in human rights education will help students gain a broader view of the human condition and help prepare them for the challenging moral decisions they will make as world citizens. The Foundation’s support for athletics facilities will help provide top-notch resources for competition, teamwork, and community outreach.”

The Embrey Family Foundation has designated $1 million to develop the Embrey Human Rights Education Pilot Program in Dedman College. The program will collaborate with departments in the College to explore human rights topics. It will develop new student programs, bring human rights scholars to campus, and convene symposia and public programs.

Rick Halperin, a human rights educator and history instructor at SMU, has been appointed director of the pilot program. Halperin is a longtime human rights activist who recently was elected to his third term as chair of Amnesty International USA.

An advisory committee for the human rights program is headed by James Hopkins, Professor and Chair of the Clements Department of History in Dedman College. Other committee members are Tony Pederson, Belo Distinguished Chair of Journalism, Meadows School of the Arts; Evelyn Parker, Associate Professor of Christian Education, Perkins School of Theology; Jeff Kahn, Assistant Professor of Law, Dedman School of Law; Carolyn Sargent, Professor of Anthropology, Dedman College; and Patricia Davis, Deputy Director of Academics for the Guildhall, SMU-in-Legacy.

“The Foundation’s gift to the Human Rights Education Pilot Program seeks to enhance dialogue among scholars and leaders and help today’s students understand the role of educated individuals in addressing the human rights issues that challenge our world,” said Gayle Embrey, president of the Embrey Family Foundation. “Our gifts to the basketball program and soccer field renovation enable the Foundation to honor my father, who saw athletics as a way to bring people together. We know that his legacy will live on through the Foundation’s gifts to SMU.”

The remaining $1.2 million of the Embrey Family Foundation gift will be used to enhance two SMU athletics programs – basketball and soccer. The gift allocates $1 million toward construction costs of the new $12 million SMU Basketball Center, a practice and training facility for men’s and women’s intercollegiate basketball programs. The center, to be located adjacent to Moody Coliseum, will include coaches’ offices, video viewing rooms, locker rooms, and training and weight rooms.

SMU distributes several thousand basketball tickets annually to children in the Dallas Independent School District and community youth groups. Area children also have been SMU’s guests at tournaments and other athletic events on campus.

The Embrey Family Foundation has allocated the remaining $200,000 of its gift to renovation and expansion of Westcott Field, home to the SMU men’s and women’s soccer programs, which have been among the nation’s best since their inception. The men’s team has advanced to the NCAA Tournament in 22 of the last 23 seasons, and the women’s squad has won its conference title 10 times in the past 11 years.

“This generous gift from the Embrey Family Foundation will provide valuable support to two of SMU’s major athletic programs,” said SMU Athletics Director Steve Orsini. “The new Basketball Center will allow greater flexibility in scheduling practices for both men’s and women’s teams and strengthen the University’s competitive recruiting position with peer institutions, while improvements to the soccer field will give a great boost to one of our most successful programs.”

The Embrey Family Foundation was established in 2004 by J. Lindsay Embrey, who died in 2005. The Foundation supports arts and culture, community enhancement, education, and human services in North Texas.

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