Dedman College Interdisciplinary Institute to bring together faculty and students from diverse fields

Dallas Hall

Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, which will be home to the new Dedman College Interdisciplinary Institute.

A new gift of $5 million marks another milestone in the historic support of the Dedman family and The Dedman Foundation for SMU. The gift will create the Dedman College Interdisciplinary Institute in Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences.

The Institute will bring together faculty and students from the humanities, sciences and social sciences for collaborative research and other programs. Unlike interdisciplinary centers at some universities, SMU’s Institute will engage undergraduates as well as graduate students and faculty.

“SMU has benefited from the Dedman family’s extraordinary vision and support for more than five decades,” said President R. Gerald Turner. “Few other families have had such a wide-ranging impact on the University’s development. As we celebrate the University’s centennial, this latest gift will help SMU continue to move forward among the nation’s leading universities.”

The Institute will host annual seminars for faculty, graduate and undergraduate students and members of the community to discuss global issues. Interdisciplinary faculty appointments will develop challenging new programming and curricular offerings. A digital humanities lab will provide state-of-the-art computing technologies and interactive space for scholars to pursue interdisciplinary research.

“Addressing the complex challenges of our interconnected world requires the knowledge and perspectives of more than one discipline,” said Dedman College Dean William M. Tsutsui. “By creating opportunities for substantive collaboration across the disciplines, the Institute will open new vistas for research and help prepare students for real-world challenges requiring multiple perspectives.”

With this latest $5 million gift for the Institute, cumulative gifts and pledges to SMU from the Dedman family and foundation have a current value in excess of $82 million.

The Dedman family has strong ties to the University. Robert H. Dedman, Sr. ’53, who died in 2002, earned his Master of Laws degree from SMU’s School of Law. Nancy McMillan Dedman ’50 received a Bachelor’s degree in political science with Phi Beta Kappa honors. Their daughter, Patricia Dedman Nail ’81, earned a Master’s degree in psychology from SMU. Their son, Robert H. Dedman, Jr. ’80, ’84, earned both J.D. and M.B.A. degrees from SMU, and his wife, Rachael Redeker Dedman ’96, earned a Master of Liberal Arts degree from SMU.

Robert H. Dedman, Sr. was named to the Board of Trustees in 1976 and served as board chair from 1992-1996. He was one of five co-chairs of The Campaign for SMU (1997-2002). He and Mrs. Dedman together received SMU’s Mustang Award for longtime service and philanthropy to the University. Mrs. Dedman currently serves as honorary chair of The Second Century Celebration, as a member of the Dedman College Executive Board and as honorary chair of Campaign Steering Committees for Dedman College and Dedman School of Law.

Robert H. Dedman, Jr. was named to the Board of Trustees in 2004 and has served as secretary of the board since 2010. He also currently serves on the executive boards of Dedman College and Dedman School of Law and on the Second Century Campaign Leadership Council. Rachael Redeker Dedman currently serves on the Board of Directors of the John Goodwin Tower Center for Political Studies and the Dedman School of Law Executive Board.