Thomas E. Barry, who has served as SMU’s vice president for executive affairs since 1995, has announced his retirement from that position effective Dec. 31, 2015. He also has been a member of the marketing faculty in SMU’s Cox School of Business since 1970.
Soon after becoming SMU’s president in 1995, R. Gerald Turner created the vice presidency for executive affairs and appointed Barry to fill it, adding the position to his President’s Executive Council.
“When I came to SMU, I knew that much of my focus would be on preparing SMU and our constituencies for major gift campaigns because we had a critical need for academic resources and campus enhancements,” Turner said. “I wanted a strong administrative leader and experienced academic who knew the University well, who would dig into any project that needed attention, and would bring together teams of colleagues for new initiatives. One of these was to move our strategic planning process forward as the basis for resource development.”
Barry led development of the Master Plan of 1997-2015 to provide direction and cohesion to the physical evolution of the campus, including its expansion east of Central Expressway, as well as improvements to SMU-in-Taos, the University’s New Mexico campus. He worked with SMU architects, facilities staff and oversight committees to help coordinate the addition or renovation of more than 32 campus facilities funded by recent campaigns.
Working with SMU’s other vice presidents and deans, he shepherded development of SMU’s last three strategic plans, including Launching SMU’s Second Century (2016-2025), the new strategic plan to be voted on by SMU’s Board of Trustees at its December 2015 meeting. The strategic plans guided priorities for SMU’s two recent major gift campaigns, The Campaign for SMU: A Time to Lead (1997-2002) and SMU Unbridled: The Second Century Campaign (2008-2015). Together the campaigns raised more than $1.5 billion for scholarships, faculty and academic programs, facilities and the campus experience.
One of the most visible projects benefitting from Barry’s leadership was SMU’s quest to be the home of the George W. Bush Presidential Center. In December 2000, after the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on the election results, President Turner gave Barry his next major assignment: “You are going to become an expert on presidential libraries,” he said. Barry researched the 12 existing presidential libraries under the National Archives and Records Administration to learn how they are funded, structured and operated, including what relationships they have with universities. The information helped guide the content of SMU’s successful proposal. As a marketing expert, he was co-leader of the University’s recent branding research and message development.
“In these years of major gift campaigns, heightened outreach and centennial activities, SMU has been very fortunate to have Tom Barry’s quiet, persistent and substantive leadership,” President Turner said. “He labored primarily behind the scenes, but the results of his talents can be seen throughout campus. As a longtime professor of marketing in Cox School of Business, he brought a faculty perspective to administrative decision-making. Through his teaching and research, he has mentored literally thousands of students. I am personally very grateful for his steadfast service and will miss the integrity and candor of his counsel.”
Barry came to SMU in 1970 as visiting assistant professor of marketing and the next year was appointed to the tenure-track position of assistant professor of marketing. Within three years he was promoted to associate professor of marketing with tenure, and in 1979 rose to full professor. He served for two terms as chair of the Marketing Department and three times as associate dean for academic affairs in the Cox School. He has received numerous teaching awards in the Cox School and served on more than 100 University committees.
Throughout his service as an academic administrator, Barry has remained a prolific researcher, producing three books and more than 80 scholarly articles. He has been one of the most frequent contributors to the three leading advertising journals in the nation.
Barry received his Ph.D. in marketing from North Texas State University (now the University of North Texas) and his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in marketing from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, where he began his teaching career.
In January 2016 Barry will begin a sabbatical year with the option of returning to the Cox faculty.