Mustang Memories: Tracing A Family’s Deep Hilltop Roots

I’m a graduate of SMU (1940) but the exciting part of the Centennial celebration is that my mother, Ilma Beaver, and her brother, Ralph, were both students the first year this wonderful university opened. Ilma was in what was, I suppose, the School of Music, and Ralph was a real Joe College. He pledged Alpha Tau Omega, was a cheerleader, and sang in glee club. In fact, the family joke says he had such a great first semester that Dr. [Robert S.] Hyer called my grandparents and asked them to come get Ralph, and when he was “big enough to wear long pants” he could return to SMU. (He must have been quite stylish wearing knickers.) He did return and met his future wife there and graduated. My mother only went a year or two but spoke often about how much she learned from her studies … They lived in the small town of Garland at that time, so both lived on campus during the school year.

I have many relatives and a sister and brother-in-law – Dr. and Mrs. Harold (Virginia Weir) Brown – who are graduates, as well as cousins. And my mother’s cousin – Hatton W. Sumners – was a benefactor, so the memories of SMU are many. My sister and I both lived in Snider Hall, and I think my mother’s dorm in 1915-16 was what became Curtis dorm.

Congratulations for the great progress the University has made. I wish I lived nearby to enjoy the many pleasures the University brings to the community. I do visit a daughter who lives in the area, so will look forward to seeing and hearing about the continuing celebration of the 100th anniversary.

– Hortense Weir Smith ’40, Leawood, Kansas

If you would like to share your SMU memories, please e-mail your story to smumag@smu.edu or write to SMU Magazine, Southern Methodist University, P.O. Box 750174, Dallas, Texas 75275-0174. Please print legibly and include a daytime phone number. Deadline for submission is January 31, 2012. Due to space limitations, not all Mustang Memories will be printed.


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