Founders’ Day Weekend: Tributes to the Past, Building for the Future

President R. Gerald Turner at the celebration April 20

SMU is marking a milestone by reaching $610 million toward its Second Century Campaign goal of $750 million. A range of new initiatives to build and renovate campus facilities were announced at a campus celebration Friday April 20, the first day of SMU’s 2012 Founders’ Day Weekend celebration.

The new and renovated facilities mark the final phase of SMU’s Centennial Master Plan for campus development. SMU is celebrating the contributions of more than $47 million that has been raised thus far in support of these facilities. Nine commitments of $1 million or more and nine of $100,000 or more have been received in support of these projects.

“A major part of SMU’s mission is to provide our students with a well-rounded collegiate experience that includes outstanding academic programs, first-rate facilities and opportunities for personal development,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “These new facilities represent that commitment and will further transform our campus, enhancing student life and continuing the standard of excellence we inherited from our founders and value today.”

The Founders’ Day Weekend celebrations began with the dedication of the Centennial Cornerstone and groundbreaking of SMU’s new Residential Commons complex. The cornerstone marks a permanent tribute to the 100-year development of SMU’s campus and usher in a series of campus developments that are part of the Centennial Master Plan.

In addition to the Commons, other projects either beginning or planned include renovation of Fondren Library Center, expansion and renovation of Moody Coliseum, construction of a new indoor-outdoor tennis complex south of Mockingbird Lane, construction of a new Mustang Band Hall at Dedman Center for Lifetime Sports, construction of a new data center to increase computing power for teaching and research, and renovation of Memorial Health Center, soon to be renamed the Dr. Bob Smith Health Center.

“These new and renovated facilities will allow SMU to provide the best experience for our students,” said Caren Prothro, chair of the SMU Board of Trustees.

The 18 donors who have each given more than $100,000 to the new campus construction growth and renovation projects include:

        • Ruth Collins Sharp Altshuler ’48 and Kenneth Z. Altshuler
        • Bill Armstrong ’82 and Liz Martin Armstrong ’82
        • Belle Stumberg Berg ’71 and Donald A. Berg ’70, ’77
        • Ann Warmack Brookshire ’77 and Bradley W. Brookshire ’76
        • Edwin L. Cox ’42
        • The Crain Foundation
        • Gary Crum ’69 and Sylvie P. Crum
        • Jane Thaggard Cumiskey ’71, ’88 and Michael R. Cumiskey ’71
        • Jerome M. Fullinwider ’51 and Leah Y. Fullinwider
        • Dianne Warren Green ’70 and William L. Green ’69, ’72
        • Paul B. Loyd, Jr. ’68 and Penny R. Loyd
        • David B. Miller ’72, ’73 and Carolyn L. Miller
        • The Moody Foundation
        • PlainsCapital Bank
        • Dr. Bob and Jean Smith Foundation in honor of the late Dr. Bob Smith ’44, ’46
        • Jo Ann Geurin Thetford ’69, ’70
        • Jack A. Turpin
        • Arch Van Meter ’53, ’72 and Patsy T. Van Meter

An evolving campus

The new Residential Commons Complex will consist of five residential buildings constructed in the southeast quadrant of campus. It will serve as an integrated academic and residential center that incorporates live-in faculty members who also have offices and teach classes within the Commons. The Commons will dramatically increase SMU’s on-campus housing, satisfying the University’s objective to provide a two-year residency requirement and enhancing personal exploration and growth for students, said SMU Vice President for Student Affairs Lori White.

“The Residential Commons will bring a new vitality to campus and a stronger sense of community for our first- and second-year students,” White said. “Students will have opportunities to continue the relationship with their Commons during their junior and senior years through ongoing social events and academic activities.”

The commons will provide space for 1,250 additional first- and second-year students and a number of faculty members to live on campus. Construction of the Commons is expected to be completed in 2014. The project includes a new dining facility and parking structure as well as renovation of current residence halls to reflect the residential commons model.

“Learning happens everywhere, with no boundaries,” said Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Paul Ludden. “This new Residential Commons model will establish an environment that fosters the ‘life of the mind’ in which a rich intellectual, social and community life can flourish.”

Moody Coliseum renovations will occur in two phases, the first of which is scheduled to begin in August 2012 with the expansion of the building’s north façade that will include new event space, offices, team locker rooms and meeting spaces. Events and conference play will continue in Moody until March 2013, when the facility will close for major interior renovation including the Coliseum’s entry lobby, expanded concourses with raised ceilings and the addition of premium suites, loge seating and infrastructure upgrades. The Coliseum will reopen in December 2013.

The renovation of the Dr. Bob Smith Health Centermade possible by a $5 million gift from the Dr. Bob and Jean Smith Foundation, will feature updated floor plans to increase the number of patient procedure rooms, counseling offices and private waiting rooms and will better serve the needs of students with disabilities. The renovation also includes upgrades to medical equipment and technology and enhancement of pharmacy and laboratory spaces.

Renovation of the Fondren Library Center will provide a welcoming space conducive to study, research and intellectual exploration.  Enhancements will include areas to accommodate the preservation and expansion of print collections, development of future digital initiatives and attractive public spaces for programs and exhibits. A new café also will be featured as a service to students and University visitors.

The Mustang Band Hall will become the new home for the growing needs of the Mustang Band.  Located in the Dedman Center for Lifetime Sports, prominently positioned near the new Residential Commons Complex, this 11,000-square-foot facility will be five times larger than the current band facility.

A new intercollegiate Tennis Complex located on the south side of Mockingbird Lane at the corner of North Central Expressway will house an indoor pavilion with six courts and the outdoor Turpin Tennis Stadium with six courts. Features include team locker rooms, training and fitness rooms, meeting rooms and offices for coaches and staff. Other features include permanent spectator seating as well as VIP seating and a club area with viewing access to the outdoor and indoor courts.

The Crain Family Centennial Promenade, to be located on the west side of the R. Gerald Turner Centennial Quadrangle, will be a pedestrian thoroughfare from the front of Hughes-Trigg Student Center to Binkley Avenue on the south. Engraved pavers, recognizing gifts from SMU alumni, parents, friends, students, faculty and staff, will serve as permanent markers of support for the University. Read more about the gift from The Crain Foundation.

Over the past few years, SMU’s campus has expanded south of Mockingbird Lane and east of Central Expressway, growing the Dallas campus to 237 acres.

“2012 marks the 100th anniversary of the campus plan begun by Dr. (Robert) Hyer (SMU’s first president), which set the course for our distinctive educational environment,” President Turner said Friday. “Successive administrations have stayed the course, and his underlying philosophies continue to today.”

You can take part in SMU’s Second Century Celebration:

    • Order SMU: Unbridled Vision: A stunning new picture book showcases the beauty of campus.
    • Leave your mark: Honor your student’s time on the Hilltop in the new SMU Centennial Promenade. With a $100 gift your student or family will be recognized with an etched paver on the Centennial Promenade, to be constructed in 2015 for the 100th anniversary of SMU’s opening.
    • Visit Centennial Hall: The interactive exhibition is in Hughes-Trigg Student Center.

Read more about Founders’ Day Weekend and other Centennial Celebration activities.

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