Founders’ Day Weekend Celebrates Progress, Partnership and New Projects

Breaking ground on new campus projects: (from left) Gillian McCombs, dean, Central University Libraries; Chaplain Stephen Rankin; Austin Prentice '12, student body president; Lori White, vice president for Student Affairs; Caren Prothro, chair, SMU Board of Trustees; Brad Cheves (at lectern), Vice President for Development and External Affairs; PresidentR. Gerald Turner; Centennial Co-chairs and Trustees Ruth Altshuler '48 and Carl Sewell '66; and Provost Paul Ludden.

SMU marked milestones and broke ground on new projects during 2012 Founders’ Day Weekend in April, attracting nearly 1,000 alumni and friends. The University also announced that it has raised $610 million toward its Second Century Campaign goal of $750 million. The total includes recent contributions of more than $47 million supporting new projects, celebrated at a groundbreaking April 20. Nine commitments of $1 million or more and nine of $100,000 or more have been received in support of these projects, and fundraising is ongoing.

> Scenes from Founders’ Day 2012

The projects include the new Residential Commons, a complex of five halls and a dining facility that will enable SMU to implement a sophomore residency requirement. Existing halls will be retrofitted to the Commons model, which includes classrooms and faculty residences. At the groundbreaking, President R. Gerald Turner announced the latest gift for the Residential Commons, a $5 million commitment from Trustee Paul B. Loyd, Jr. ’68 and his wife, Penny R. Loyd. As naming donors to build one of the halls they join Bill Armstrong ’82 and Liz Martin Armstrong ’82, whose $5 million contribution to the project was announced last May.

The groundbreaking also represented other projects either beginning or planned: renovation of Fondren Library Center, expansion and renovation of Moody Coliseum and construction of a new indoor-outdoor tennis complex south of Mockingbird Lane, a new Mustang Band Hall at Dedman Center for Lifetime Sports, 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. New facilities also will include the Crain Family Centennial Promenade, a pedestrian thoroughfare. Engraved pavers for the promenade, recognizing gifts from alumni, parents, friends and other members of the SMU community, will serve as permanent markers of support for the University.

The Mustang Band performs at Founders' Day.

Founders’ Weekend also included “Inside SMU,” informal classes taught by SMU faculty for alumni and other friends, followed by a briefing by President Turner. His remarks included highlights from SMU’s Economic and Community Impact Report, presented to city leaders at a luncheon April 17. The report thanked the city of Dallas for its partnership with the Methodist Church in founding the University and outlined the return on investment to the region provided by SMU’s achievements and outreach, also noted in an April 21 Dallas Morning News editorial, “SMU at 100.”

As a capstone to what observers called “SMU week in Dallas,” President Turner was inducted into the Junior Achievement Business Hall of Fame April 21, an honor recognizing community leadership, personal integrity and innovation. In his remarks, Turner said the award recognizes the entire University – “the remarkable commitment of SMU’s Board of Trustees, students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends…. This induction into the Junior Achievement Hall of Fame tells us that Dallas is very pleased with the return it has received. And, in a very real way, we have just begun.”

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