Growing with the Fifties

Dallas Hall in the 1950sThe 1950s was a decade of growth at SMU. In 1950 SMU had 16 buildings with 11 under construction, and an endowment of $4 million. By 1960 the campus had grown to 70 buildings and the endowment to $11 million. Today, as SMU approaches the 100th anniversary of its founding in 1911, the campus comprises 76 buildings.

In 1950 Peyton Hall (right), designed by Dallas architect Mark Lemmon, opened as a dormitory for 106 women. Features included Venetian blinds, rose-beige woodwork and two large sliding-door closets with shelf and hanger space. Then, all freshmen wore red and blue beanies until Homecoming (if SMU won the game) or until the Christmas holiday. For women students, housemothers enforced strict curfews, limited smoking to residence hall bedrooms and generally policed their behavior.

SMU women in their dormitoryWith this issue, SMU Magazine is introducing a new section – Hilltop History – that takes advantage of the vast holdings of SMU Archives. Each issue will feature photos that help tell the story of the University through the decades. SMU Archives collects materials that chronicle the University’s past, including documents, photographs and memorabilia from students, faculty, staff and alumni. If you can identify any of the women in this photograph, or wish to donate materials to the Archives, contact University Archivist Joan Gosnell, 214-768-2261, jgosne@smu.edu.

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