SMU announces new $25 million gift to the Simmons School

Harold C. and Annette Caldwell Simmons
Annette and Harold C. Simmons have committed a new $25 million gift to SMU’s Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development.

Harold C. and Annette Caldwell Simmons have committed a new gift of $25 million to SMU’s Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development.

Their gift will fund a new building for the expanding programs of the school and support three new endowed academic positions. The new facility will be named Harold Clark Simmons Hall, in honor of Mr. Simmons, at Mrs. Simmons’ request.

Their combined gifts of $45 million to the school make Harold and Annette Simmons’ commitment among the largest to SMU’s Second Century Campaign, also making them among the most generous donors in SMU’s 100-year history.

Watch the announcement on YouTube in a new window

“We are truly fortunate to count the Simmons as partners in our academic mission and greatly value their leadership and generosity,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “They have established an enduring legacy of service and generosity benefitting SMU and show great foresight by supporting education. Since its creation less than a decade ago, the Simmons School has made significant and rapid contributions addressing the challenges facing schools and educators.”

> Robert Miller, DMN: Harold and Annette Simmons give $25 million to SMU

“Since our first gift to the school in 2007, we have been pleased to see the rapid progress the school has made in developing programs aimed at addressing the greatest challenges in our nation’s schools,” said Harold Simmons. “Our investment has resulted in the formation of innovative programs for education and human development, the hiring of outstanding faculty leading research that makes a difference, and growing outreach to communities with solutions that work. This progress is worthy of continued investment, which we are pleased to lead.”

“This extraordinary gift enables our school to leave a more durable imprint as we increase our capacity for making an impact,” said David Chard, Leon Simmons Dean of the Simmons School. “The new building and endowed faculty positions will enable us to expand dramatically the scope and quality of our teaching, research and service.”

> Read the full story from SMU News

SMU honors 2011 Distinguished Alumni and Emerging Leader Nov. 3

Blake Mycoskie, TOMS Shoes founder and SMU alumnusBusiness leaders, a philanthropic community leader and an innovative entrepreneur will receive SMU’s 2011 Distinguished Alumni Award, the highest honor the University bestows upon its graduates.

This year’s recipients include Ike Griffin (’57), president of Horizon Communities in PrisonDavid B. Miller (’72, ’73), co-founder and partner of EnCap Investments L.P.; and Annette Caldwell Simmons (’57), community leader and philanthropist. TOMS Shoes founder Blake Mycoskie (’99, left) will receive the Emerging Leader Award, which recognizes an outstanding alumnus or alumna for achievements within the past 15 years.

The 2011 Distinguished Alumni Award reception and dinner takes place at 6 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 3, in the Martha Proctor Mack Grand Ballroom, Umphrey Lee Center. The awards ceremony will be held in McFarlin Auditorium at 8 p.m., following the dinner and reception. The dinner is sold out, but tickets to a dinner buffet and reception in Centennial Hall at the Hughes Trigg Student Center, 3140 Dyer Street, and the presentation at 8 p.m. at McFarlin Auditorium remain available. To register, visit the SMU Alumni website.

During the ceremony, past Distinguished Alumni Award recipients will be honored as History Makers as part of SMU’s Centennial celebration. The honorees this year are:

  • Ruth Collins Altshuler, philanthropist and first woman chair and longest serving member of the SMU Board of Trustees
  • Lila Mae Banks Cockrell, four-term mayor of San Antonio
  • Edwin L. Cox, business leader and Cox School benefactor
  • Lee Cullum, journalist, writer and broadcaster
  • Jess T. Hay, international business and civic leader
  • Mary Ellen Mitchell Jericho, civic leader and philanthropist
  • Nancy Ann Hunter Hunt, civic leader and philanthropist
  • Ray L. Hunt, civic and business leader and philanthropist
  • William King McElvaney, minister, SMU professor emeritus and author
  • Ruth I. Allen (Mewhinney), Dallas pioneer in medicine
  • Marshall Terry, SMU professor emeritus and author

> Read more about this year’s DAA honorees from SMU News
> Find a list of past DAA recipients at the SMU Alumni site

Tune In: Happy birthday, Simmons Hall

On Sept. 23, 2011, the SMU community celebrated the first birthday of Annette Caldwell Simmons Hall, which was dedicated during Family Weekend 2010

Annette Caldwell Simmons, President R. Gerald Turner and Leon Simmons Dean David Chard joined faculty, staff and students for birthday cake and a chorus of “Happy Birthday.”

Click the YouTube screen to watch a brief video by Eva Parks of SMU News, or visit this link to open the Simmons Hall birthday party video in a new window. video

> More about the 2010 Simmons Hall dedication

SMU breaks ground for Annette Caldwell Simmons Hall

Harold and Annette Caldwell Simmons

A year after celebrating a $20 million gift from Harold and Annette Simmons, SMU broke ground Dec. 5, 2008 on the building that will house the Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development. Mrs. Simmons, a former teacher, is an elementary education graduate of SMU.

“When the Annette Caldwell Simmons Hall is completed, it will mark the culmination of the work and contributions of many, led by the vision and generosity of two – Harold and Annette Simmons,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “As their own lives have been profoundly touched by education, this wonderful new building will be the starting place for new generations of educators and for new research on teaching and learning.

“Supporting the Annette Caldwell Simmons Hall is a great way to honor teachers,” Turner added. “One of the ways we will complete funding is for people to step forward to name every room in this building in honor of a teacher. It could be a spouse, it could be a child, or it could be a great teacher who changed your life. And although she didn’t want me to mention it here, my wife, Gail, was a teacher for 13 years, and I intend for one of those rooms to have a plaque with Gail’s name on it.”

Annette Simmons with Maple Lawn School Choir membersTo accomplish this, President Turner is committing $100,000 to the Annette Caldwell Simmons Hall, in addition to the Turners’ campaign commitment of $100,000 for library endowment funds.

The new Hall, targeted for completion in the spring of 2010, will consolidate programs that have been housed in a variety of classrooms and offices. The building, positioned prominently on the east side of campus, is designed to be welcoming to students and visitors. It will include classrooms; research laboratories, including exercise physiology and biomechanics labs; faculty and administrative offices and student support areas.

With the construction of this new building, as well as continuing programs at SMU-in-Legacy in Plano, the school will have a visible presence at both of SMU’s Dallas-area campuses.

(Above, Harold and Annette Caldwell Simmons stand before an artist’s rendering of the Annette Caldwell Simmons Hall. Right, Mrs. Simmons receives roses from members of the Maple Lawn School Choir, who gave a surprise performance at the groundbreaking ceremony. Mrs. Simmons taught 4th grade at the Dallas elementary school. Photography by Hillsman S. Jackson.)

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