A Life Of Faith, Family And Philanthropy

Elizabeth Perkins Prothro ’39, a longtime benefactor of SMU, died May 23 in Wichita Falls, Texas.

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Elizabeth Perkins Prothro

Her life was built on faith, family and philanthropy. Her legacy of thoughtful leadership and generous support is evident at SMU and other institutions of higher learning across the country, as well as myriad religious and cultural organizations. Her contributions established countless scholarships, faculty positions, rare collections and spaces for worship, art and education.

Born in Dallas in 1919, Elizabeth Perkins grew up in Wichita Falls and graduated from Wichita Falls High School in 1935. She attended Sweet Briar College in Virginia and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in government and political science from SMU in 1939.

She married Charles Nelson Prothro in Wichita Falls in 1938. They had four children: Joe N. Prothro, Kay Prothro Yeager ’61, C. Vincent (Vin) Prothro and Mark H. Prothro ’72, as well as 10 grandchildren, 14 great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild.

Mrs. Prothro served as a member of the SMU Board of Trustees from 1972-87 and was named a trustee emerita in 1991. She was honored by SMU with its Distinguished Alumni Award in 1978 and an honor Doctor of Humane Letters degree in 1996. That same year, she and her husband received SMU’s Mustang Award, which recognizes longtime service and philanthropy to the University.

She was a founding member of the boards of Perkins School of Theology and Colophon/Friends of the SMU Libraries.

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