As confetti rained and a brass band played, the SMU community celebrated the announcement of a $20 million gift from the Moody Foundation April 20. The gift will launch an expansion and renovation of the University’s Moody Coliseum.
“Moody Coliseum has long been a signature space to the University and the city,” said R. Gerald Turner, SMU president. “With this generous gift from the Moody Foundation, the coliseum will be ready for the future.”
With the gift, SMU’s Second Century Campaign reached a milestone. “The Moody Foundation commitment takes our campaign total to date over the $500 million mark,” announced Caren Prothro, chair of the SMU Board of Trustees.
Launched in 2008 with a goal of $750 million, the Second Century Campaign seeks support for student quality, faculty and academic excellence, and the campus experience.
The Moody Coliseum project will feature new premium seating, as well as courtside retractable seating for students and renovation of the lobby and concourses. Technology improvements will include new video boards, scoreboards, sound system, broadcast capabilities and heating and cooling systems. Office suites, restrooms and locker rooms will be upgraded.
Additional donors will be sought for the $40 million project. Planning and design will begin immediately.
“As we celebrate the centennial of our founding this year, it is especially gratifying to receive this gift from a family with a strong legacy of support for SMU,” said Brad Cheves, SMU vice president for development and external affairs.
William L. Moody Jr. and his wife, Libbie Rice Shearn Moody, established the Moody Foundation in 1942. The Foundation has enjoyed a long partnership with SMU, including support of improvements to Fondren Science Building and Moody Coliseum, which opened in 1956.
In Moody’s inaugural year, fans cheered the Mustang men’s basketball team to the Southwest Conference Championship and NCAA post-season competition. Women’s basketball came to Moody Coliseum in 1976 and women’s volleyball in 1996. It is a popular site for area high school graduations. Presidents Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush have spoken at Moody. Bands such as the Rolling Stones, the Grateful Dead, U2 and Pearl Jam have played there.
Frances Anne Moody-Dahlberg ’92, executive director and trustee of the Moody Foundation, captured the spirit of the occasion this way: “On behalf of the Moody Foundation, our trustees, my family and especially my grandmother, Frances Russell Moody Newman, who was a student at SMU in the 1930s and inspires me in my life and work, we are honored to continue the Moody Foundation’s legacy with this gift and thrilled to be part of the beginning of SMU’s second century. Go Ponies!”