Highland Park UMC establishes Umphrey Lee Professorship in Methodist History to honor SMU’s centennial

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Highland Park UMC establishes Umphrey Lee Professorship in Methodist History to honor SMU’s centennial

One of SMU’s oldest neighbors has given the University a lasting 100th birthday present.

A $1.5 million gift from Highland Park United Methodist Church (HPUMC) will endow the Umphrey Lee Professorship in Methodist History, as well as support the HPUMC Future Church Leaders Program, in SMU’s Perkins School of Theology. The announcement of the gift fell on the date of the SMU Centennial – Sept. 24, 2015 – allowing the University to celebrate its longstanding relationship with the church that held its first service on the SMU campus in 1916.

“Our church history dates back to the founding of SMU, but our relationship is more than just an overlapping of time and geography,” said Rev. Paul Rasmussen ’04, HPUMC senior pastor, during the University’s Centennial Convocation. “It is our privilege to endow this professorship and to support the growth of future church leaders as we prepare for future generations of congregants. The Perkins School of Theology is our partner in so many ways, and remains at the heart of the SMU tradition of outreach in the community and the world.”

The gift includes $1 million to establish the faculty position in the Perkins School of Theology, and $500,000 to support educational opportunities for individuals aspiring to serve in church leadership roles. Recipients of “future leaders” funding may include students enrolled in graduate, undergraduate, certificate or continuing education programs or courses across the University, with students identified and recommended by HPUMC.

“When it comes to Umphrey Lee, it’s hard to know where SMU ends and Highland Park United Methodist Church begins, because Rev. Lee served us both for so many years,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “Our HPUMC neighbors are part of the SMU family and we feel a special sense of pride that this gift will support us in teaching the rich Methodist history that we share and help to prepare future church leaders.  It’s a wonderful way to celebrate our combined centennials.”

Lee arrived at SMU in 1915, the first year classes were held on the Hilltop, and was elected the first student body president. He received his master’s degree as a member of SMU’s first graduating class in 1916. He served as pastor of HPUMC for 13 years, as SMU’s fourth president for 15 years (including during the World War II years) and as its chancellor after he stepped down as president. Over his lifetime he wrote 10 scholarly books on topics including Methodist history, the relationship between church and state, and pacifism in the context of the historic church.

“Umphrey Lee was a scholar of Methodist history who believed that the liberal arts should make students think about their responsibilities in society, and that a successful experience at Southern Methodist University would help instill personal and social values,” said Perkins Dean William B. Lawrence. “This gift from the congregation that Rev. Lee loved to the University that he also loved is a wonderful tribute to a man whose influence on SMU was transformational.”

> Read the full story from SMU News

October 1, 2015|News|

SMU reaches $1 billion Second Century Campaign goal; announcement made during Centennial Convocation

SMU President R. Gerald Turner has announced that SMU Unbridled: The Second Century Campaign has reached its $1 billion goal ahead of schedule. He delivered the news on Thursday, Sept. 24, at the University’s Centennial Convocation in McFarlin Auditorium.

Read the full text of Dr. Turner’s Centennial Convocation address

The campaign’s official completion date is Dec. 31, 2015; campaign gifts will continue to be counted to that date.

The Centennial Convocation – gathering of volunteers, donors, alumni, civic leaders and other members of the campus and Dallas communities – was the official celebration of the 100th anniversary of SMU’s opening on Sept. 24, 1915, as well as a rally for its future. The centennial is being celebrated during a weekend of Homecoming and other special events.

> Find a full schedule of Centennial Homecoming events

“This is a doubly historic day for us,” said President Turner. “As we celebrate the 100th anniversary of SMU’s opening, we are pleased to announce unprecedented new support for our future. Our founders were forward-looking leaders, and they’d be pleased to see that today’s supporters are generously investing in our next century of achievement. These donors are truly the founders of our second century.”

> Find a summary of the advancements funded by the Second Century Campaign from SMU News

SMU is one of 34 private universities nationwide that has conducted a $1 billion gift campaign. Other institutions who have done so range from Columbia University and the University of Notre Dame to Emory and Vanderbilt universities.

The Dallas Morning News: SMU reaches $1 billion fundraising goal

“By raising $1 billion to support academic excellence, SMU joins distinguished company within the higher education community,” said Gerald J. Ford, SMU trustee and convening co-chair of the campaign. “This stature underscores the reality of our growth in quality and reputation. SMU is proving to be a wise and worthy investment, not only among donors, but also among the young people who will invest their futures with us as students.”

> Read the full story from SMU News

September 24, 2015|News|

Venture Commercial gift to ICSC Foundation will help support SMU Cox undergraduates

Venture Commercial Real Estate logoVenture Commercial Real Estate has endowed a fund to support undergraduate students in SMU’s Cox School of Business for at least the next 20 years. The Venture Commercial Undergraduate Real Estate Award, created through the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) Foundation, will award $2,000 annually to a deserving SMU Cox undergraduate student studying real estate or a related field.

ICSC Foundation logoIn fall 2015, officials with the Cox School’s Robert and Margaret Folsom Institute for Real Estate will select the inaugural award recipient, based on overall academic and extracurricular involvement.

“We are thrilled by Venture Commercial’s gift to the ICSC Foundation that will support SMU Cox students interested in pursuing a career in real estate for years to come,” said Joseph Cahoon, director of the Folsom Institute. “It is a pure example of how the generosity of others can have a direct impact on training the leaders of tomorrow in the commercial real estate industry.”

“Many of DFW’s top commercial real estate professionals attended SMU, and we have quite a few alumni here at Venture, including myself,” said Mike Geisler, co-founder and managing partner of Venture Commercial. “We are proud to partner with the ICSC Foundation to invest in young talent attending this nationally ranked university, as we strive to train, develop and equip them to excel in the field of real estate and in life.”

More details will be announced once the recipient of the 2015-16 award is selected in the fall.

> Read more from SMU News

September 16, 2015|News|

SMU receives $45 million gift from The Meadows Foundation, the largest single gift in University history

Meadows Museum, SMUIn the largest single gift in SMU history, The Meadows Foundation, Inc. has pledged $45 million to SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts and Meadows Museum. With this commitment, The Meadows Foundation has provided more than $100 million to the University since 1995.

The $45 million gift, the largest in The Meadows Foundation’s history, includes $25 million to support goals and programs at the Meadows Museum, which houses one of the largest and most comprehensive collections of Spanish art outside of Spain. The gift designates $13 million for exhibitions, education programs and initiatives; $6 million for acquisitions; and $6 million for an acquisition challenge grant.

In addition, the gift will help the Museum expand relationships with international cultural institutions and enhance its reputation as the center for Spanish art in the United States.

“SMU has enjoyed a long and productive partnership with The Meadows Foundation, one initiated by Algur H. Meadows himself through the endowment of the Meadows School and the creation of the Meadows Museum,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “The resulting collaboration has enhanced the lives of thousands of students, faculty and members of the local, regional and international communities. This year, as we celebrate both the 50th anniversary of the Meadows Museum and the centennial of SMU’s opening, we are honored to accept a gift that will continue this extraordinary partnership.”

The Meadows Foundation gift also designates $20 million to the Meadows School of the Arts to support its goal to lead the nation in arts education. The funding will be used to attract and retain top faculty and students, create and maintain innovative programs of national importance and provide enhanced studio, gallery and state-of-the-art classroom spaces. The gift designates $12 million for facility enhancements, including a $10 million challenge grant, and $8 million for student and faculty recruitment and retention, as well as new strategic initiatives.

“Algur H. Meadows’ vision of an innovative school of the arts and a museum of international distinction has been realized in the Meadows School of the Arts and Meadows Museum,” said Linda P. Evans, chairman and CEO of The Meadows Foundation. “This historic gift recognizes their remarkable transformations over the past two decades, as well as the talented leadership in place at SMU. It also serves as a strategic investment in the dynamic futures of the Meadows School of the Arts and the Meadows Museum, serving diverse audiences around the globe.”

The Meadows Foundation is a private philanthropic institution established in 1948 by Algur H. Meadows and his wife, Virginia, to benefit the people of Texas. Since its inception, the Foundation has disbursed more than $775 million in grants and direct charitable expenditures to more than 7,000 Texas institutions and agencies. The Meadows Foundation’s primary areas of giving are arts and culture, civic and public affairs, education, health, and human services, in addition to initiatives focused on the environment, mental health and public education.

Meadows School of the ArtsThe Meadows School of the Arts was named in 1969 in honor of Algur H. Meadows, its primary benefactor.

“This generous gift will help the Meadows School to maintain and continue its historic journey as a national model for arts education,” said Sam Holland, the Algur H. Meadows dean of the Meadows School of the Arts. “We are honored to reflect Algur Meadows’ legacy with a School that continues to create and maintain important programs and initiatives in the arts.”

> Read the full story from SMU News

 

March 23, 2015|News|

SMU breaks ground on Harold Clark Simmons Hall

Harold Clark Simmons Hall at SMU, artist's rendering

An artist’s rendering of Harold Clark Simmons Hall, the second building in SMU’s Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development quad. The University broke ground for the new facility on Friday, Sept. 12, 2014.

SMU broke ground on Friday, Sept. 12, 2014 for the second building in the University’s Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development complex.

Harold Clark Simmons Hall was funded by a gift of $25 million from Annette Caldwell Simmons and Harold C. Simmons in February 2013. The gift will also support three new endowed academic positions. The new facility will be named in honor of the late Mr. Simmons, at Mrs. Simmons’ request.

“This new building will support the growing impact and leadership of the Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development. The Simmons School excels in research productivity and innovative programs that have direct application to the critical education needs in our community and beyond,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “The generosity of Harold and Annette Simmons reflects their wisdom and foresight in supporting programs that expand human potential and achievement. We are grateful to them for enabling us to increase student and faculty achievement in the school.”

> Visit the Simmons School online at smu.edu/simmons

Situated along Airline Drive, Harold Clark Simmons Hall will be a three-story, 40,000-square-foot academic building and home to the Budd Center for Involving Communities in Education, the Teacher Development Studio and the Department of Teaching and Learning. The facility also will include classrooms, labs, faculty and administrative offices and conference rooms to meet the expanding program needs of the school. Completion is scheduled for late 2015.

“One dean should not have this much fun,” said David Chard, Leon Simmons Endowed Dean of the Simmons School, noting that in the space of a very short time, he has been privileged to break ground on two buildings made possible by Harold and Annette Simmons.

“Harold C. Simmons Hall represents a generous commitment to the teachers and children of our region,” Chard added. “It will enable the Simmons School to help teachers optimize their impact on children’s education. It will also serve as the hub of our community-based programs, allowing us to expand our understanding of the relationship between schools and the communities they serve.”

In 2007 Harold and Annette Simmons made a historic $20 million gift to SMU, which established endowments for the school and provided funding for the school’s first new building, Annette Caldwell Simmons Hall. The gift created an endowed graduate fellowship fund and an endowed deanship and faculty recruitment fund, both of which honored Mr. Simmons’ parents, who were educators in Golden, Texas. In recognition of their commitment, SMU named the school the Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development.

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. Previous gifts include the endowment of four President’s Scholars and the creation of the Simmons Distinguished Professorship in Marketing in the Cox School of Business.

“The innovative programs of the Simmons School, including those to be housed in the new Harold Clark Simmons Hall, have the potential to influence the direction of American education,” said Paul Ludden, SMU provost and vice president for academic affairs. “They are also examples of the kind of intellectual capital that SMU is increasingly able to provide for the region and the nation.”

“We were a collection of unrelated programs,” Dean Chard said to Mrs. Simmons. “The seeds you and Harold planted have (allowed the Simmons School to become) a force for change.”

Harold Clark Simmons Hall will serve as home for these Simmons School programs:

  • The Budd Center for Involving Communities in Education focuses on a strategic and holistic approach to fighting poverty by transforming education. It equips school districts and nonprofits as they work together to assess and meet the extraordinary needs of children in poverty. The center builds data-sharing infrastructure, makes previously inaccessible data available, teaches partners to translate data and uses data to develop collaborative and highly targeted plans to accelerate students’ academic success. Its work centers on West Dallas as a model that eventually can be adopted by other urban areas. Endowed in 2014 by Russell and Dorothy Budd ’06, the center is the backbone organization for The School Zone, a West Dallas collaboration of 26 social service agencies and 23 public and private schools.
  • The Teacher Development Studio will occupy three laboratories that are technologically equipped to train students in teaching, instructional design and assessment. These labs offer teachers a place to practice being teachers in low-stakes environments:
  • The Teaching Performance Lab will simulate pre-K–12 classroom environments with computer avatars standing in for students. The avatars play the roles of students in classroom situations, and the teacher interacts through the same technology used in video games.
  • The Assessment Lab offers software programs that allow teachers to create assessments and evaluate student performance. Assessment outcomes will be relayed to the Instructional Design Lab, where teachers can construct the resources they need to connect with their students.
  • The Instructional Design Lab will provide teachers access to state-of-the-art technology as well as conventional materials to develop unit and lesson plans and technology applications to support student learning.

> Read the full story from SMU News

September 16, 2014|News|
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