SMU breaks ground for Annette Caldwell Simmons Hall

Harold and Annette Caldwell Simmons

A year after celebrating a $20 million gift from Harold and Annette Simmons, SMU broke ground Dec. 5, 2008 on the building that will house the Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development. Mrs. Simmons, a former teacher, is an elementary education graduate of SMU.

“When the Annette Caldwell Simmons Hall is completed, it will mark the culmination of the work and contributions of many, led by the vision and generosity of two – Harold and Annette Simmons,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “As their own lives have been profoundly touched by education, this wonderful new building will be the starting place for new generations of educators and for new research on teaching and learning.

“Supporting the Annette Caldwell Simmons Hall is a great way to honor teachers,” Turner added. “One of the ways we will complete funding is for people to step forward to name every room in this building in honor of a teacher. It could be a spouse, it could be a child, or it could be a great teacher who changed your life. And although she didn’t want me to mention it here, my wife, Gail, was a teacher for 13 years, and I intend for one of those rooms to have a plaque with Gail’s name on it.”

Annette Simmons with Maple Lawn School Choir membersTo accomplish this, President Turner is committing $100,000 to the Annette Caldwell Simmons Hall, in addition to the Turners’ campaign commitment of $100,000 for library endowment funds.

The new Hall, targeted for completion in the spring of 2010, will consolidate programs that have been housed in a variety of classrooms and offices. The building, positioned prominently on the east side of campus, is designed to be welcoming to students and visitors. It will include classrooms; research laboratories, including exercise physiology and biomechanics labs; faculty and administrative offices and student support areas.

With the construction of this new building, as well as continuing programs at SMU-in-Legacy in Plano, the school will have a visible presence at both of SMU’s Dallas-area campuses.

(Above, Harold and Annette Caldwell Simmons stand before an artist’s rendering of the Annette Caldwell Simmons Hall. Right, Mrs. Simmons receives roses from members of the Maple Lawn School Choir, who gave a surprise performance at the groundbreaking ceremony. Mrs. Simmons taught 4th grade at the Dallas elementary school. Photography by Hillsman S. Jackson.)

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