gifts

Student story on SMU summer camps inspires $2 million gift from Hamon Charitable Foundation

Lyle Engineering Summer CampWhen Hamon Charitable Foundation board member Tom Souers read a Dallas Morning News article last June about an SMU Lyle School of Engineering summer camp for underrepresented students, it proved to be the spark behind a $2 million foundation gift to support expansion of the camps and create engineering scholarships for students who attend them.

The camp opportunities and scholarships are aimed at inspiring students to pursue engineering as a field of study and future career. Middle and high school students attending the Lyle School’s Hamon Summer Engineering Camps initially will be recruited from the KIPP DFW network of public charter schools, the STEM-focused Young Women’s Preparatory Network, and DISD’s Barack Obama Male Leadership Academy.

> Read the original Dallas Morning News story by DMN intern and SMU Campus Weekly editor Kylie Madry

Teachers from the participating schools also will be allowed to attend camps to engage with Lyle students and faculty. Students attending the camps who are later accepted into the engineering program at SMU will be eligible to apply for college scholarships through the new Jake L. Hamon Scholars Program.

“We are delighted that the Hamon Charitable Foundation is making these eye-opening camps available to a larger group of students,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “The foundation’s gift helps expand our impact in the community and will help build a brighter future for more young people in Dallas, particularly through the creation of the companion scholarship program.”

— Written by Kimberly Cobb

> Read the full story from SMU News

> Learn more about the Lyle School’s K-12 programs

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

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

2018 SMU Civil Rights Pilgrimage will travel under a new name, with a new endowment from Kelvin Beachum Jr. ’11, ’12

Kelvin Beachum Jr. on the field

New York Jets offensive tackle Kelvin Beachum Jr. ’11, ’12 has made an endowment and naming gift to the SMU Civil Rights Pilgrimage. The SMU alumnus is a former Pilgrimage  participant.

When the 2018 Civil Rights Pilgrimage leaves SMU on Friday, March 9, it will do so with a new name and a new endowment. The Dennis Simon Endowed Civil Rights Pilgrimage has received a $100,000 endowment gift from New York Jets offensive tackle Kelvin Beachum Jr. ’11, ’12.

Beachum and his wife, Jessica, visited campus to celebrate the gift on Thursday, March 8, 2018. The gift renames the pilgrimage the Dennis Simon Endowed Civil Rights Pilgrimage in honor of the SMU political science professor who led the program from 2008 to 2015. Dr. Simon died in February 2017.

An NFL athlete since 2012, Beachum devotes his off-the-field efforts to providing opportunities for students, particularly for minority youth. Since 2012, Beachum also has supported the pilgrimage that was so meaningful to him by funding scholarships and paying for meals for participants.

“Dr. Simon’s empathy and sympathy for those who went through the civil rights era was palpable,” Beachum said. “His urgency for students to know what happened then and how it has affected our current society always resonated with me.”

> Learn more about the Dennis Simmon Endowed Civil Rights Pilgrimage from the Chaplain’s Office

Under Simon’s leadership, the trip featured stops at meaningful sites in the civil rights movement, such as Little Rock High School, the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala. and Martin Luther King, Jr.’s parsonage in Montgomery, Alabama. History came alive at each spot thanks to Simon’s friendships with original participants he called civil rights “foot soldiers,” who shared their recollections with students.

Dennis Simon, SMU Civil Rights Pilgrimage

The late Dennis Simon (front row, second from right) led the SMU Civil Rights Pilgrimage from 2008 to 2016 – combining an existing Chaplain’s Office program with his own class, “The Politics and Legacies of the Civil Rights Movement.”

“We had a chance to meet members of the Little Rock 9, the African American students who integrated Little Rock High School in 1957,” Beachum remembers. “We stepped inside the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, which was bombed in 1963 by members of the Ku Klux Klan. We walked over the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, site of the 1965 Bloody Sunday march. I literally followed in the footsteps of some very important and impactful agents for change and progress, some of whom gave their life.”

— Written by Nancy George

Read the full story from SMU News

Energy industry leader Kyle D. Miller ’01 honored with SMU gifts exceeding $5 million

Kyle D. Miller

Cox Distinguished Alumnus Kyle D. Miller ’01 has been honored by a tribute gift to SMU of more than $5 million.

A consortium of donors has honored SMU alumnus and energy industry leader Kyle D. Miller ’01 with more than $5 million in contributions to his alma mater. SMU Trustee Tucker S. Bridwell ’73, ’74 led the effort to assemble tribute gifts in recognition of Miller’s success in the energy industry; Bridwell and his wife, Gina, personally contributed to the effort, along with other SMU alumni and industry colleagues.

In recognizing Miller’s expertise and accomplishment in the energy finance arena, the majority of the tribute will establish the Kyle D. Miller Energy Management Program and the Kyle D. Miller Energy Scholarship Fund in the Edwin L. Cox School of Business. Both initiatives will receive endowment and current-use funding.

The gift also will include a naming opportunity honoring Miller and his love of athletics within SMU’s planned Indoor Performance Center.

Dallas Morning News: Investors mark SMU alum’s success with $5 million gusher of donations

“It’s a fitting tribute that Kyle’s colleagues have chosen to honor him by supporting both academic and athletic programs,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “Kyle was named outstanding young alumnus for the Cox School of Business in May 2015, and these contributions will help position other students to find the kind of success he has achieved in energy finance.”

“It’s a fitting tribute that Kyle’s colleagues have chosen to honor him by supporting both academic and athletic programs,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “Kyle was named outstanding young alumnus for the Cox School of Business in May 2015, and these contributions will help position other students to find the kind of success he has achieved in energy finance.”

For Bridwell, the opportunity to lead the effort to honor Miller while supporting SMU students and student-athletes was a perfect combination. “Kyle’s education at SMU helped lead to his success in energy finance,” Bridwell said. “The creation of this new program, scholarship fund and the plans for the new Indoor Performance Center provided all of us a chance to help future SMU students and student-athletes succeed and aspire to great careers while honoring Kyle, his achievements so far and his passion for the Mustangs.”

“I am humbled and honored by the generosity, kindness and vision represented by this effort,” said Miller, who served as the president and CEO of Silver Hill Energy Partners, LLC and Silver Hill Energy Partners II, LLC prior to their acquisition in 2016. “I want to thank everyone who contributed to all of these initiatives that will benefit students and the broader community in the years to come.”

The Energy Management Program will be based in the Maguire Energy Institute. It will augment the school’s existing MBA Concentration in Energy Finance and will strengthen the undergraduate offering in energy to meet the rising demand for BBA graduates in the energy sector. The program will also offer the Cox School multiple opportunities in executive education. Traditional business disciplines, particularly accounting and finance positions, currently comprise 6.1 percent of the total energy workforce, and this percentage is rising. In addition, the energy sector is increasingly technology-driven, placing greater emphasis on efficiency and productivity. Both of these characteristics fit the Cox School’s expertise in financial education and its strategy to enhance technology and innovation-based curricula in its programs.

Academic management of the program will be provided by Professor Kumar Venkataraman. He will be appointed to the Cary M. Maguire Chair of Oil and Gas Management and will work closely with the Director of the Maguire Energy Institute, Bruce Bullock, to provide modern and relevant curricula.

The operational side of the program will be managed by a director whose position will be funded by the gift that establishes the program, and who also will work closely with the Maguire Chair and the Director of the Maguire Energy Institute.

The Kyle D. Miller Energy Management Scholarship Fund will provide funds for both BBA Scholars and MBA Scholarships. Scholarships continue to be a competitive factor in the recruitment of highly qualified students to both undergraduate and graduate programs. The potential to attract the most talented students – those who would excel in the Cox BBA Energy Concentration or MBA Concentration in Energy Finance and be highly sought-after by corporate and industry leaders – grows as the value of scholarships increases. This fund will elevate the student profile for the energy management program.

“This is a very exciting new program and scholarship fund that will further increase the competitiveness of SMU and the Cox School of Business,” said Cox Dean Matthew Myers. “We are delighted that both the Kyle D. Miller Energy Management Program and the Kyle D. Miller Energy Management Scholarship Fund will be endowed so that they will continue in perpetuity.”

> Read the full story from SMU News

$15 million gift to endow SMU’s Hunt Leadership Scholars Program

Hunt Scholars Group Portrait with Tate Speaker Indra Nooyi

Nancy Ann Hunt (third from left, front row) and Ray L. Hunt (fifth from left, front row) with Hunt Leadership Scholars.

A $15 million gift from the Nancy Ann Hunt Foundation (a supporting organization of the Communities Foundation of Texas) will ensure the long-term support of one of SMU’s signature scholarship programs. With this gift, Nancy Ann ’65 and Ray L. Hunt ’65 will have contributed $65 million to the University’s Hunt Leadership Scholars Program – a nationally recognized scholarship program that attracts academically gifted and exceptional service-driven student leaders from across the country.

In 1993, the Hunts  and SMU announced a vision to create an annually funded leadership program to preserve the well-rounded and entrepreneurial nature of SMU’s student body while the University grew its academic standing. They believed that an SMU education fosters, and benefits from, students who exhibit demonstrated leadership skills, intellectual ability, a spirit of entrepreneurism and a strong work ethic, combined with a desire to grow these skills and apply them in service of the community.

> Learn more about SMU’s Hunt Leadership Scholars Program: smu.edu/hunt

“SMU has benefited enormously from Nancy Ann and Ray Hunt’s historic generosity,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “Today SMU receives three times the number of applicants than it did in 1993 with many now having proven leadership, entrepreneurial and academic strengths. Therefore, although the Hunts feel that the original program’s objectives have been accomplished, we were delighted when they agreed to make this significant gift that will enable the University to create an endowment to insure the long-term continuation of the Leadership Scholars program and the legacy that the Hunts have created.”

“We are grateful for the impact this program has had upon the lives of so many students, both at SMU and beyond, in terms of preserving and enhancing the entrepreneurial spirit and “Texas heritage” which Nancy Ann and I enjoyed years ago when we were both students at SMU,” said Ray L. Hunt. “We are honored that SMU wishes to sustain this program in perpetuity to meet the needs of students at SMU and the Greater Dallas community in the years to come.”

“Our intent was to create a scholarship program that would be based upon more than just strong academic credentials,” said Nancy Ann Hunt.  “We wanted to help SMU attract truly outstanding students who demonstrate a strong potential to be a leader throughout their lives; young men and women who will stand up, speak out, and make a positive difference to a broader community.  We firmly believe that Hunt Scholars represent that type of person.”

Ten million dollars of the Hunts’ gift will be placed in an endowment that will generate funds in perpetuity. The remaining $5 million will be spent over the next several years as the endowment matures, allowing time to develop additional sources of support for the Hunt Leadership Scholars Program.

— Written by Regina Moldovan

> Read the full story from SMU News

Jody and Sheila Grant pledge $1.5 million to SMU’s Robson & Lindley Aquatics Center

Robson and Lindley Aquatics Center, artist's rendering

Former varsity swimmer Joseph M. “Jody” Grant ’60 met his wife, Sheila Peterson Grant, while they were both SMU students. Now they have provided $1.5 million to help fund the University’s new Robson & Lindley Aquatics Center.

With their gift, they’ve also created the Sheila and Jody Grant Challenge, which encourages other donors to give the remaining $1.5 million to complete the Center’s $22 million funding goal. The 42,000-square-foot facility, soon to be home to the University’s internationally recognized men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams, will be dedicated Friday, Nov. 3, 2017, during SMU Homecoming.

Jody and Sheila Grant

Jody and Sheila Grant

“As community business and philanthropic leaders, Jody and Sheila Grant know the importance of reaching the finish line and completing worthy goals,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “Their generosity is inspirational and helps get us closer to completing funding for the Robson & Lindley Aquatics Center and providing a place where our student athletes can continue the championship legacy of SMU swimming and diving.”

Jody Grant attended SMU on a swimming scholarship. He earned four individual Southwest Conference swimming championships and was twice named to the All-America team.

“SMU’s swimming program has been near and dear to my heart since Coach Red Barr recruited me many years ago to swim for the Mustangs,” said Dr. Grant. “I am honored to support this new facility, which will be home for the swimming program that was so meaningful to me.”

> Read the full story from SMU News

$2 million gift establishes William F. May Endowed Directorship in SMU’s Maguire Center for Ethics and Public Responsibility

Rita Kirk, William F. May Endowed Director, Maguire Center for Ethics and Public Responsibility, SMU

Rita Kirk is the first William F. May Endowed Director of SMU’s Maguire Center for Ethics and Public Responsibility.

A $2 million gift from SMU trustee emeritus and longtime benefactor Cary M. Maguire will endow the directorship of the University ethics center that bears his name in honor of the center’s founding director, ethicist William F. May.

Each director of the Cary M. Maguire Center for Ethics and Public Responsibility will now carry the title of William F. May Endowed Director, beginning with current director Rita Kirk.

“Cary Maguire’s gifts to SMU always have been transformative,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “His commitment to the William F. May Endowed Directorship will position the Maguire Center for future excellence while permanently linking Bill May’s name with both the center he founded and the field to which he devoted his illustrious career.”

“SMU is committed to the teaching of ethics throughout its curriculum, and to promoting dialogue on important issues with the surrounding community,” said Steven Currall, provost and vice president for academic affairs. “Cary Maguire’s latest act of generosity will ensure that this dialogue continues in perpetuity with a talented, equally committed faculty member leading the way.”

> Read the full story from SMU News

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

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

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

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