Since its founding, SMU has had a proud tradition of naming facilities and endowments for faculty positions, awards and scholarships to honor professors, family members and others.
SMU’s first building, the iconic Dallas hall, was named to honor the citizens of Dallas who made significant efforts to locate the University in the city and provided significant funds for its first building.
That tradition remains alive today, as donors continue to provide generous gifts to the second Century Campaign in honor of people who have touched their lives or the lives of others in important ways.
Each such gift stems from a desire to both support one of the three campaign priorities and preserve the legacy of a special individual or individuals.
Kevin O’Meara ’86, for example, graduated with the first class of President’s scholars with a double major in accounting and economics. Tto ensure that future generations of SMU students would have the same opportunity he had, in 2006 he became the first President’s scholar alumnus to endow a President’s scholarship with a gift of $300,000.
The scholarship was created in loving memory of Robert F. O’Meara and in honor of Jeanette K. O’Meara, Kevin’s parents.
In another example, the five children of the late Judge James L. Noel, Jr. ’31, ’32, ’38 wanted to honor their father, who once told a family member that he wished he could afford to endow the dean’s chair at Dedman School of Law, where he earned his LL.B.
Joining together, the Noels and their spouses, all of whom live in Houston, gave $4 million to the school. Their gifts, along with an additional $1 million from the family of school namesake Robert H. Dedman, Sr., established the Judge James Noel Dean and Professor of Law.
The Hayes-Prewitt Reception Area for the Department of Applied Physiology and Sport Management in Annette Caldwell Simmons Hall was named in honor of two former men’s basketball head coaches, the late E.O. ‘Doc’ Hayes (head coach from 1947 to 1967) and Bob Prewitt (head coach from 1967 to 1975).
This tribute, which honors the coaches with a named facility in an academic building, recognizes the extraordinary impact Coach Hayes and Coach Prewitt made on the lives of student-athletes and peers.
The first gifts to the initiative were made by Billie Ruth (B.R.) Holman ’67, Denny R. Holman ’67, Rick F. Herrscher ’58 and the late Anne Perdue Herrscher ’58, ’86. These were followed by gifts from many other former players and trainers who joined in making this tribute possible.
The above stories are just three examples of the myriad ways generations of SMU alumni, parents and friends have chosen to provide crucial support for the University while honoring those who have made a difference in the lives of those around them.