Linda and Mitch Hart commit significant gift to SMU’s Ford Research and Innovation Building

[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”no” hundred_percent_height=”no” hundred_percent_height_scroll=”no” hundred_percent_height_center_content=”yes” equal_height_columns=”no” menu_anchor=”” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” class=”” id=”” background_color=”” background_image=”” background_position=”center center” background_repeat=”no-repeat” fade=”no” background_parallax=”none” enable_mobile=”no” parallax_speed=”0.3″ video_mp4=”” video_webm=”” video_ogv=”” video_url=”” video_aspect_ratio=”16:9″ video_loop=”yes” video_mute=”yes” video_preview_image=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” margin_top=”” margin_bottom=”” padding_top=”” padding_right=”” padding_bottom=”” padding_left=””][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ layout=”1_1″ spacing=”” center_content=”no” link=”” target=”_self” min_height=”” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” class=”” id=”” background_color=”” background_image=”” background_position=”left top” background_repeat=”no-repeat” hover_type=”none” border_size=”0″ border_color=”” border_style=”solid” border_position=”all” padding_top=”” padding_right=”” padding_bottom=”” padding_left=”” dimension_margin=”” animation_type=”” animation_direction=”left” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_offset=”” last=”no”][fusion_text]

Linda and Milledge 'Mitch' A. Hart IIIDallas business leaders Linda Wertheimer Hart ’65 and Milledge (Mitch) A. Hart, III have committed a significant gift to the Gerald J. Ford Research and Innovation Building at SMU. The new facility will house the University’s Linda and Mitch Hart eCenter, which includes SMU Guildhall, the world’s top-ranked graduate game design program. The building will be located on SMU’s main campus at the corner of McFarlin Boulevard and Airline Road.

“Thanks to the Harts’ generosity, we are one step closer to creating a world-class center for research and innovation on our campus,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “We are excited about the synergies we’ll derive from bringing advanced computer programs together under one roof.”

In 2000, the Harts made a generous gift to establish the Hart eCenter, currently located at SMU-in-Plano, as well as to endow the eCenter’s directorship. The Hart eCenter focuses on interdisciplinary research, education and innovation; it is the first university-wide initiative focused on interactive network technologies created at a major research university. Reporting directly to SMU’s provost, the Hart eCenter uses this freedom and flexibility to promote thought leadership at the intersections of multiple fields and disciplines.

The Hart eCenter’s most visible manifestation is SMU Guildhall. Since its founding in 2003, the program has graduated more than 700 students, who now work at more than 250 video game studios around the world. SMU Guildhall offers both a Master of Interactive Technology in Digital Game Development degree and a Professional Certificate of Interactive Technology in Digital Game Development, with specializations in Art, Design, Production and Programming. In 2017, the Guildhall was named the world’s “No. 1 Graduate Program for Game Design” by The Princeton Review, based on a survey of 150 institutions in the United States, Canada and abroad that offer game design coursework and/or degrees.

> Visit SMU Guildhall online: guildhall.smu.edu

“SMU understands the value of interdisciplinary research in creating new knowledge and discovering new approaches to solving the world’s challenges. With a new facility dedicated to building these research collaborations, the University is stepping forward as an innovation leader,” said Linda Hart. “The growth of SMU Guildhall, both in programming and in stature, has been a source of tremendous pride for Linda and me ever since we made our first gift to establish the Hart eCenter. I look forward to seeing the exciting work this internationally recognized program will produce as it extends and expands its cutting-edge research in interactive technologies,” said Mitch Hart.

The Ford Research and Innovation Building was established with a $15 million lead gift commitment from Gerald J. Ford ’66, ’69 and Kelli O. Ford to construct a campus research center supporting SMU’s goal to expand advanced computing and interdisciplinary research throughout the University.

“One of SMU’s strengths is the research and other work we do at the intersection of multiple disciplines,” said Steven C. Currall, provost and vice president for academic affairs. “We plan to continue building on this strength to advance and expand our research capability.”

In addition to the Hart eCenter and SMU Guildhall, the new building will house the AT&T Center for Virtualization, which will allow researchers from across the University to conduct interdisciplinary work to address the technical, economic, social and security issues associated with virtual technologies and their applications. It also will be the home of the Dedman College Interdisciplinary Institute, established in May 2012 through a gift from the Dedman Foundation.

It is expected that the availability of the Ford Research and Innovation Building will encourage more faculty to use high-performance computing and attract greater levels of external research funding. The University’s Second Century Campaign added 54 new substantially endowed faculty positions, bringing SMU’s current total to 120, many of them senior-level scholars with active research agendas. Along with other faculty who are leading important research projects, these scholars need and expect the best facilities to support their work. In addition, high-performance computing will apply directly to the undergraduate curriculum in several disciplines.

“Linda and Mitch Hart have been visionary supporters of SMU for many years. This gift reaffirms their dedication to the University as a leader in interdisciplinary research and education,” said Brad E. Cheves, SMU vice president for Development and External Affairs. “We are incredibly grateful for their support of excellence and innovation among our faculty and students, and for the opportunity to share these world-changing capabilities with our North Texas and global communities.”

> Read the full story from SMU News

[/fusion_text][/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

Gerald J. Ford gives $15 million for new SMU research center

Confetti streamers fly at the announcement of Gerald J. Ford’s $15 million gift to establish a new research center at SMU. Ford’s new commitment brings to $800 million the total raised to date by the University’s Second Century Campaign.

Business leader and banker Gerald J. Ford has committed a $15 million lead gift for a campus research center that will help expand advanced computing and interdisciplinary research throughout the University.

The new state-of-the-art building will support research facilitated by SMU’s high-performance computing capabilities, among other projects. It also will be the home of the Dedman College Interdisciplinary Institute, established in May 2012 through a gift from the Dedman family and Foundation. The building will be located on SMU’s main campus at the corner of McFarlin Boulevard and Airline Road.

The Gerald J. Ford Research and Innovation Building joins other advancements SMU is implementing to support its accelerated research push. Among them is completion of a new University data center in a companion building under construction on SMU property south of Mockingbird Lane. Technology in the new building will enable SMU’s high-performance computing capacity to grow from 2,000 to more than 10,000 CPU’s.

“The new Gerald J. Ford Research and Innovation Building

will help to transform the research and educational landscape of the University,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “Students must be prepared for a world in which data analyses, modeling and visualization are critical decision-making tools, while faculty continue to push the boundaries of knowledge and innovation. Gerald Ford’s new gift continues his tradition of strong support for faculty research. We are extremely grateful to him for this major boost to SMU’s academic aspirations and impact.”

In 2003 Ford established the Gerald J. Ford Research Fellows program at SMU, which annually honors outstanding faculty members with funding to support their research and creative endeavors. To date 48 professors have been named Ford Research Fellows.

“I believe it is important that SMU alumni and friends support all areas of the University – academic programs, scholarships, athletics and campus development,” Ford said. “SMU is known for the breadth of the educational experience it provides, and this campaign is strengthening every critical component of the campus environment for our students.”

The surprise announcement of Ford’s new commitment was made Friday, Oct. 25 at a meeting of leaders and volunteers for SMU’s Second Century Campaign. The Volunteer Summit attracted more than 200 participants and coincided with the University’s Homecoming Week.

Ford’s new commitment brings to $800 million the total raised to date by SMU’s Second Century Campaign. The University announced in September that it was raising its original monetary goal from $750 million to $1 billion, based on the campaign’s rapid progress ahead of schedule. Seeking resources for scholarships, faculty positions, academic programs, facilities and the campus experience, the campaign was publicly launched in 2008.

Based on continuing campaign momentum and expansion of the goal to $1 billion, SMU has adopted ambitious new goals to:

  • Increase the number of endowed scholarships to 500 by the end of the campaign, December 31, 2015.
  • Increase the number of endowed faculty positions to 110, up from the original goal of 100. To date 96 such positions have been established, 34 through The Second Century Campaign.
  • Complete funding for 10 major capital projects, beyond the five already completed since the start of the campaign, for a total of 15.

> Read more about the Ford Research and Innovation Building from SMU News