The dedication of Annette Caldwell Simmons Hall September 24 marks a new chapter in SMU’s commitment to meeting the educational needs of the region and the nation. The new building serves as home for the wide array of programs offered by the Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development.
The school is committed to developing research-based solutions to society’s compelling challenges in education and human development and training the next generation of teachers and education leaders.
“Today’s dedication celebrates SMU’s commitment to attract the very best faculty by constructing a facility that promotes state-of-the-art learning and research,” said President R. Gerald Turner. “It demonstrates our goal of bringing the nation’s most talented students to our campus. And it illustrates that we will continue to place the educational needs of our community and our country at the top of our goals for SMU’s second century.”
“Today, SMU furthers its commitment to education by providing scholars a facility that promotes quality research and prepares educators and human development professionals with the resources they will need to shape the minds of future generations,” said Caren H. Prothro, chair of SMU’s Board of Trustees.
The light-filled, 41,000-square-foot building consolidates for the first time programs that have been housed in a variety of offices across the Hilltop. Annette Caldwell Simmons Hall is the on-campus home for the Departments of Teaching and Learning, Applied Physiology and Wellness, and Education Policy and Leadership, as well as the Master of Liberal Studies program. A special events area, research laboratories, the dean’s suite, classrooms, conference rooms, faculty offices and a student advising center are included in the building, located near the northeast corner of the SMU campus. Glass partitions and movable walls surround the first-floor laboratories and pavilion, providing flexibility and showcasing education in progress.
Endowment for the school and the new building was provided by a $20 million gift from Harold C. Simmons and Annette Caldwell Simmons ’57, one of the largest gifts in SMU’s history. The gift also funded the Leon Simmons Endowed Deanship and Faculty Recruitment Fund and 10 Fairess Simmons Graduate Fellowships, named, respectively, for Harold Simmons’ father and mother, both of whom were educators. Teachers, education advocates, the school’s faculty and staff and current and former students have contributed $12 million to the building.
“As a former teacher, I am thrilled to see students filling the classrooms, the laboratories accommodating research and the gardens blooming with roses,” said Mrs. Simmons. “My dream has come true. The education and research that takes place here will make a real difference in educating the educators and promoting human fulfillment.”
During the ceremony, Mrs. Simmons, who taught at Maple Lawn Elementary School in Dallas and at Clark Field air base in the Philippines, recognized Nishon R. Evans, a certified public accountant in Vienna, Virginia, whom she described as her favorite former student.
The Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development offers graduate-level and specialized programs for educators and research programs that focus on how students learn and develop language skills. These programs include literacy training, bilingual education, English as a second language, gifted student education and learning therapy. Also offered are master educator programs in science, technology, reading and mathematics.
The undergraduate minor in education prepares students for teacher certification. In human development, the school offers Master’s degrees in counseling, dispute resolution and liberal studies, along with wellness and noncredit lifelong learning classes. A new undergraduate major in applied physiology and sport management was created in 2009, providing students with a biological understanding of health and fitness and the business background required of sport, health and fitness professionals.