Historic Simmons gift for new building and faculty positions

Harold Simmons and Annette Simmons ’57 (center) are joined by family members and SMU President R. Gerald Turner (far left) during a ceremony February 21 announcing a gift of $25 million for SMU’s Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development. The Simmons were presented with teachers’ handbells symbolizing their commitment to education.

Harold Simmons and Annette Simmons ’57 (center) are joined by family members and SMU President R. Gerald Turner (far left) during a ceremony February 21 announcing a gift of $25 million for SMU’s Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development. The Simmons were presented with teachers’ handbells symbolizing their commitment to education.

Harold C. Simmons and Annette Caldwell Simmons ’57 have committed a new gift of $25 million to SMU’s Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development. Their gift will fund a new building for the expanding programs of the School and support three new endowed academic positions.

The new facility will be named Harold Clark Simmons Hall, in honor of Mr. Simmons, at Mrs. Simmons’ request.

In 2007 Harold and Annette Simmons made a historic $20 million gift to SMU, which established endowments for the School and provided funding for a new building, Annette Caldwell Simmons Hall. The gift also created an endowed graduate fellowship fund and an endowed deanship and faculty recruitment fund. In recognition, SMU named the Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development.

Their combined $45 million commitment to the School makes Harold and Annette Simmons’ gifts among the largest to SMU’s Second Century Campaign, also making them among the most generous donors in SMU’s 100-year history.

“We are truly fortunate to count the Simmons as partners in our academic mission and greatly value their leadership and generosity,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “They have established an enduring legacy of service and generosity benefiting SMU and show great foresight by supporting education.

“Since our first gift to the School in 2007, we have been pleased to see the rapid progress the School has made in programs to address the greatest challenges facing our nation’s schools,” said Harold Simmons. “This progress is worthy of continued investment, which we are pleased to lead.”

Since 2007, the School has expanded from one department and several programs to five departments offering eight graduate degree programs and one undergraduate degree program.

The School has grown from 13 full-time faculty members and 42 staff members to 62 full-time faculty members and 112 full-time staff members. Research funding has increased to $18 million since 2007. In addition, the School hosts research conferences and provides continuing education to teachers throughout North Texas.

The School also has developed community outreach programs that complement degree programs. In addition, the Simmons School has appointed a faculty member in global health who is a concurrent fellow at the George W. Bush Institute. The School also partners with the Bush Institute on two landmark education initiatives, Middle School Matters and The Alliance to Reform Education Leadership.

“The Simmons’ gift will enable the School to expand dramatically the scope and quality of our teaching, research and service,” said David J. Chard, Leon Simmons Endowed Dean of the Simmons School.

“The School’s progress also has been supported through the generosity of a range of donors who care about our programs and mission, and we appreciate gifts of all sizes.”

Harold C. Simmons and Annette Caldwell Simmons ’57

Mr. Simmons is founder, chair and CEO of Contran Corporation, a holding corporation with interests in several industries. He is a former member of the executive boards of Cox School of Business and Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences. His relationship with SMU began in 1961 when he bought a small drugstore near the campus, Simmons University Drug. The enterprise eventually expanded to 100 stores. He sold the chain in 1973, and it later became Eckerd Drugs.

Mrs. Simmons earned a B.S. degree in elementary education from SMU in 1957 and later taught first, second and third grade at Maple Lawn Elementary School in Dallas and at Clark Field, a U.S. air base in the Philippines. She is a former member of the board of the SMU Tate Distinguished Lecture Series and has been active in numerous other SMU programs and civic activities.

Their previous gifts also include the endowment of four President’s Scholarships and the Simmons Distinguished Professorship in Marketing in Cox School of Business.

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