Elisabeth Martin Armstrong ’82 and William D. Armstrong ’82 have provided the first lead gift of $5 million toward the construction of SMU’s new Residential Commons complex, a grouping of five residential facilities and a dining hall, designed to expand learning outside the classroom.

“The Armstrong family’s gift to SMU will help ensure that future students will benefit from a close-knit, living and learning community that will enhance their SMU experience,” says President R. Gerald Turner.

Elisabeth Martin Armstrong and William D. Armstrong (center, both in black) are joined by members of the Armstrong family near the site of the new Residential Commons.

Construction of the complex will begin in early 2012. It will be located north of Mockingbird Lane near the Dedman Center for Lifetime Sports and Gerald J. Ford Stadium.

It is expected to open in fall 2014, and the five residential buildings will provide housing for 1,250 students. Each building also will have classrooms, seminar space and faculty accommodations.

“As students, Bill and I both lived on campus, and we loved it,” Liz Armstrong says. “The new sophomore residency requirement really should be called the ‘sophomore residency privilege’ – it will be such a wonderful experience for students.”

Bill Armstrong, an admirer of Doak Walker ’50, said he is pleased to be funding the Residential Commons facility that will be situated closest to the campus statue of the famous running back outside Ford Stadium. “Plus, it’s our honor to contribute toward the tremendous changes happening on campus.”