Lyle School announces Hart Center for Engineering Leadership

Caruth Hall, Lyle School of Engineering, SMUDallas business and philanthropic leaders Linda and Mitch Hart are providing a gift to fund the Hart Center for Engineering Leadership in SMU’s Bobby B. Lyle School of Engineering.

Housed in the Palmer Engineering Leadership Complex in the Lyle School’s new Caruth Hall, the Hart Center will build on the Lyle School’s co-op and internship programs, adding leadership seminars and workshops, a business plan competition, community engagement projects, innovation competitions and mentoring relationships.

Career fairs, mock interviews, a series of debates on engineering ethics and formal, videotaped presentations made in an executive boardroom will help students develop social and communication skills as they prepare to enter the workforce.

The concept for the multifaceted program emerged from growing evidence that successful, contemporary engineering leaders rely on a variety of skills that go beyond applied math and science. The Hart Center works with faculty across the campus to provide focused curricula and personal and team experiences to develop the leadership skills of future engineers.

For example, the engineering student who needs to build confidence for formal presentations may be guided toward a theater class offered through SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts. A business plan competition offered in collaboration with the Cox School of Business can introduce students to working with a multidisciplinary team.

Approximately 750 undergraduate students in the Lyle School, including about 250 first-year students, are participating in the program this semester. Hart Center programs also are available to graduate students.

“This project has special meaning for both Linda and Mitch, who have a passion for promoting leadership,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “The Linda and Mitch Hart Center for Engineering Leadership will prepare all of our students at the Lyle School to succeed with a strong combination of technical, management, communication and social skills essential for leadership and collaboration.”

“Over my lifetime, I have learned that leadership is not defined by a position,” said Mitch Hart. “A leader is someone people choose to follow – someone who can make a difference. It is my great pleasure to work with the Lyle School to provide students the tools they need to develop their leadership skills and maintain engineering’s role as a driver of economic growth.”

“Today’s engineers will be called upon not only to excel in their fields and be persuasive, but also to interpret their expertise in both business and public settings, contribute their talents to civic issues, and consider the ethical dimensions of problems and solutions,” said Linda Hart. “This Center will add tremendous value to an SMU engineering education by connecting Lyle students to faculty from a variety of non-engineering disciplines who will help hone their leadership skills.”

“This unique program is key to the expanding role of engineers in our economy and society,” said Lyle School Dean Geoffrey Orsak. “Our engineers will be able to work across disciplines, cultures and management styles to get things done – an absolute necessity to maintain our nation’s competitiveness.”

(Above, SMU’s Caruth Hall, home of the Hart Center for Engineering Leadership.)

> Read more from SMU News
> Visit the Hart Center for Engineering Leadership online

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