Second Century Campaign gifts supporting the new Caruth Hall in the Bobby B. Lyle School of Engineering have enabled SMU to take another major step toward revolutionizing engineering education. The building, dedicated this spring, provides a home for new programs and facilities that focus on innovation and leadership and enhance the school’s core disciplines.

New programs and facilities include the Caruth Institute for Engineering Education, the Hunter and  Stephanie Hunt Institute for Engineering and Humanity, the Palmer Engineering Leadership Complex and workspace for the Lockheed Martin Skunk Works® Lab at SMU in the Innovation Gymnasium. The building was designed to meet the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED standards. Leadership donors of $1 million or more include: the W.W. Caruth, Jr. Foundation Fund of Communities Foundation of Texas; Robert Palmer ’57, ’66 and Rebecca Palmer; the Hillcrest Foundation; the J.E. and L.E. Mabee Foundation; Bobby B. Lyle ’67, SMU trustee and convening co-chair of the Campaign Steering Committee for the Lyle School; and Mary Alice Shepherd and on behalf of her late husband, Texas Instruments pioneer Mark Shepherd, Jr. ’42.

Mr. Palmer says it was apparent during his career as an engineer and executive that vision and a commitment to bringing projects to fruition – elements of leadership emphasized by programs offered in the new Caruth Hall – were centrally important for engineers.

“It’s not the technical knowledge acquired that’s the key to engineering leadership,” he says. “Engineers become successful leaders by developing their nontechnical skills. And that concept is to be one of the primary missions and vision of the new Engineering Leadership Complex.”

Mr. Palmer, who received a B.S. in mechanical engineering and a graduate degree in engineering administration from SMU, is a member of the school’s Executive Board.

A gift from Mary Alice Shepherd and on behalf of her late husband provided another major component of the new building, the Mary Alice and Mark Shepherd, Jr. Atrium. The gift recognizes the special place of SMU in Mark Shepherd’s life, Mrs. Shepherd says. He earned a B.S. degree in electrical engineering from SMU, was awarded an honorary Doctor of Engineering degree and served as a University trustee.

“Mark always felt that his SMU education was what allowed him to go somewhere in his career,” she says. “He started at SMU when he was 14 and was able to continue his studies while working for the city of Dallas.

“Mark always had some project he was working on to better mankind,” Mrs. Shepherd adds. “In this new building, future generations of students will be able to do exactly the same thing.”

Providing crucial support in addition to leadership gifts, more than 400 donors rallied to make construction of the new Caruth Hall possible.

“The new Caruth Hall embodies the idea that studying engineering is not just about getting technical knowledge, but is really about learning how to think,” says G. Mark Cullum ’70, a member of the Campaign Steering Committee for the Lyle School and chair of the school’s Executive Board. “We’re teaching people to be analytical, connected to the world around them and prepared to solve the world’s problems.”

The Cullum Family Conference Room in Caruth Hall recognizes the family’s long association with SMU. Both Mark Cullum and his father, George P. Cullum, Jr. ’42, received B.S. degrees in civil engineering from SMU. George Cullum also serves on the school’s Campaign Steering Committee and Executive Board.

“The engineering school was based in Patterson Hall when I was a student,” recalls George Cullum. “It was primitive by today’s standards, but we got a superb education, and the school produced many graduates who became leaders in Dallas. This building continues that great tradition.”

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