A new Centennial gift from Sarah Fullinwider Perot ’83 and Ross Perot, Jr., will fund new scholarships in SMU’s Dedman School of Law in honor of one of its most distinguished graduates.
Their $1.75 million gift creates the Thomas W. Luce III Centennial Dedman Law Scholars Program, with $1.5 million going to endowment and an additional $250,000 in operating funds for the first five years. The “Centennial” designation of the program recognizes a gift that provides operational funds while the endowment matures.
Luce, who received SMU’s Distinguished Alumni Award in 1999, earned his undergraduate degree on the Hilltop in 1962 and graduated from what is now Dedman School of Law in 1966.
“Sarah and Ross Perot have found the perfect way to honor their life-long friendship with Tom Luce,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “Tom has been successful both in business and in public service and we are very proud of the history that he’s had here. Having Tom Luce’s name with us in perpetuity on a scholarship fund in the Dedman School of Law is a great way to honor his terrific contributions to SMU and the broader community.”
Describing his family as big supporters of SMU, Ross Perot, Jr., said they agreed the best way to honor Luce was through a gift to his alma mater. In addition to financial support, students in the Luce Scholars Program will have both formal and informal opportunities to learn directly from Luce, who was a founding partner in the Dallas-based legal firm of Hughes & Luce LLP.
“Tom Luce is the role model for what a lawyer should be,” said Perot, Jr. “We hope that with this scholarship Tom will be able to attract great students to SMU, teach them to be great attorneys, and also to focus on public service.”
“I am so honored and grateful that my dear friends, Ross and Sarah Perot, chose to honor me in this way at my alma mater that means so much to me,” Luce said. “I look forward to working with the Luce Scholars in the years ahead.”
Jennifer Collins, Judge James Noel Dean of Dedman Law, said she expects the experience of working with Luce will be transformative for Luce Scholars.
“Not only has he excelled in the profession, but Tom Luce spends his time serving others on issues ranging from mental health to education,” Collins said. “He shows students what it means to be a world changer and how to really have an impact on their community, and those are the kind of lawyers we want to be sending out into the marketplace.”