Two SMU graduates are showing appreciation for a professor who made a lasting impact on their lives by establishing an endowed professorship in his honor.
The $1.25 million gift from Stephen L. and Kathryn Hedges Arata of Dallas will create the Jeremy duQuesnay Adams Centennial Professorship in Western European Medieval History in honor of the longtime SMU professor, who will continue to teach in the University’s Clements Department of History.
“We are honored to have an endowed professorship bearing the name of one of SMU’s most distinguished and revered faculty members,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “We are grateful to the Aratas for their vision and generosity in providing this gift, which supports our Second Century Campaign goal to increase the number of endowed chairs to 100. With the Adams Professorship, the University is within 15 faculty positions of reaching that goal.”
Several other former students of Professor Adams have contributed toward the endowed professorship in his honor. Those contributing $25,000 and more include Cindy and Dr. David Stager Jr. ’87; Jo ’90 and Joe Goyne; and Renee Justice Standley ’90 and Kenneth Standley.
Both the Aratas majored in English and minored in medieval studies in SMU’s Dedman College. Kathryn earned her B.A. degree in 1987 and an M.A. in English from SMU in 1991. Stephen received two degrees from SMU in 1988 — a B.A. from Dedman College and B.B.A. from Cox School of Business. He also earned a Master’s of Management degree from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.
Kathryn Arata said, “My parents, the Rev. Bill B. Hedges and Jane Hedges, graduated from SMU in 1960. All of my life I have loved this university, growing up steeped in the SMU culture and history. When I finally arrived on the campus, I was captivated by the quality and variety of the courses offered.
“Jeremy Adams created a sense of academic curiosity and desire for learning that I possess to this day. Now that Stephen and I are in a position to pay back (actually pay forward) the gifts he gave us, we wanted to do something that would be close to Jeremy’s heart. He is passionate about his subject, and we have given this endowment to ensure that his passion will continue to light the fires of academic curiosity in students for years to come.”
The Adams Professorship is the first Centennial Professorship to be established in Dedman College. The “Centennial” designation is a special gift category during SMU’s 100th anniversary commemoration, 2011-15. It requires that gifts meet elevated giving levels and provide a combination of endowment and annual support. Because a faculty position designated as “Centennial” enables the appointment to be made sooner, SMU has initiated a search to fill the Adams Professorship in the 2013-14 academic year.