December 17, 2012

Kathryn Arata ’87, ’91 credits her favorite professor with instilling “a sense of academic curiosity and desire for learning that I possess to this day.” In appreciation she and husband Stephen L. Arata ’88 have made a gift of $1.25 million to create the Jeremy duQuesnay Adams Centennial Professorship in Western European Medieval History in honor of the longtime SMU professor, who will continue to teach in the University’s Clements Department of History.

SMU alumni Stephen L. Arata (left) and Kathryn Hedges Arata with their son, Jeremy Andrew Arata (right), a first-year student, and History Professor Jeremy Adams

“We are grateful to the Aratas for their vision and generosity in providing this gift, which supports our Second Century Campaign goal to increase the number of endowed chairs to 100,” says President R. Gerald Turner.  “With the Adams Professorship, the University is within 15 faculty positions of reaching that goal.

Several other former students of Adams have contributed $25,000 or more to the professorship, including Cindy and Dr. David Stager Jr. ’87; Jo ’90 and Joe Goyne; and Renee Justice Standley ’90 and Kenneth Standley.

The professorship “underscores our commitment to interdisciplinary teaching and research reflecting Professor Adams’ creative blend of history, literature and other disciplines, which makes medieval history come alive for his students,” says Dedman College Dean William Tsutsui.

SMU has initiated a search to fill the Adams Professorship in the 2013-14 academic year.

Both Stephen and Kathryn Arata majored in English and minored in medieval studies in SMU’s Dedman College. Their son, Jeremy Andrew Arata, named for their beloved professor, entered SMU in the fall as a Dedman College Scholar. The Aratas have two younger daughters, Hanna and Julianna.

The Adams Professorship is the first Centennial Professorship to be established in Dedman. The “Centennial” designation is a special gift category during SMU’s 100th anniversary commemoration, 2011-2015.

> Read more