Among those attending the celebration to mark the launch of the new Hart Center for Engineering Leadership October 13 were (L-R): R. Gerald Turner, SMU president; Bobby B. Lyle '67, convening co-chair of the Campaign Steering Committee for the Lyle School; Karen Livesay Shuford '70, co-chair, Campaign Steering Committee for the Lyle School; Milledge A. (Mitch) Hart, III; Linda Wertheimer Hart '65; Aart de Geus '85, co-founder, chairman and CEO of Synopsis Inc., who gave the center's inaugural lecture; and Geoffrey C. Orsak, Lyle School dean.

The new Hart Center for Engineering Leadership in the Bobby B. Lyle School of Engineering is training young engineers in a variety of nontechnical skills emphasizing innovation, adaptability and ethics to prepare them for positions of leadership in a range of fields.

The center is being funded with a generous gift from Milledge A. (Mitch) Hart, III and Linda Wertheimer Hart ’65. Approximately 750 undergraduate students in the Lyle School, including about 250 first-year students, are participating in the program this semester. Hart Center programs also are available to graduate students.

“Over my lifetime, I have learned that leadership is not defined by a position,” said Mitch Hart. “A leader is someone people choose to follow — someone who can make a difference. It is my great pleasure to work with the Lyle School to provide students the tools they need to develop their leadership skills and maintain engineering’s role as a driver of economic growth.”

Linda Hart added, “Today’s engineers will be called upon not only to excel in their fields and be persuasive, but also to interpret their expertise in both business and public settings, contribute their talents to civic issues and consider the ethical dimensions of problems and solutions. This center will add tremendous value to an SMU engineering education by connecting Lyle students to faculty from a variety of non-engineering disciplines who will help hone their leadership skills.”

Housed in the Palmer Engineering Leadership Complex in the Lyle School’s new Caruth Hall, the Hart Center builds on the current co-op and internship programs that have long been a foundation in the Lyle School, adding student participation in leadership seminars and workshops, a business plan competition, community engagement projects, innovation competitions and mentoring relationships.