SMU dedicated the Crain Family Centennial Promenade during Founders’ Weekend April 15-16 and paid tribute to the long-standing support of the Crain family. A 2012 gift from the Crain Foundation enabled the family to continue advancing the beauty of the campus through the promenade. The walkway makes the campus more pedestrian-friendly, linking the Hughes-Trigg Student Center on the north with the Residential Commons complex on the southern end of the campus.
“This is a joyful day for all of us,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “Not only are we celebrating a job well done by our major donors and legions of others, but we invited our friends and families to stroll this beautiful new promenade and read the inscriptions. It’s a perfect finale for The Second Century Campaign and a lasting tribute to our generous donors.”
The Crain family’s ties to SMU began with the late Ann Lacy Crain ’41. She earned a bachelor’s degree in English and was a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority. She later became president of R. Lacy, Inc., an oil and gas production corporation founded by her father, Rogers Lacy, and based in her home community of Longview, Texas. She also was president of the Crain Foundation. Mrs. Crain served her alma mater as a member of the SMU Board of Trustees from 1984 to 1987 and as a member of the Dedman College Executive Board.
Ann Lacy married Bluford Walter “B.W.” Crain, Jr. and they had three children: Lacy Crain, B. Walter Crain, III ’72 and Rogers Lacy Crain. The Crain family comprises three generations of SMU alumni.
Crain Foundation support includes funding of the Ann Lacy Crain Fountain on the east plaza of the Blanton Student Services Building, as well as support of Meadows School of the Arts, Edwin L. Cox School of Business, the Hamon Arts Library Building Fund, the SMU Annual Fund and Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, among other areas.
As part of dedication festivities for the Crain Family Centennial Promenade, donors of engraved pavers were asked to share the stories behind the bricks. While there are thousands of stories, many reveal common themes of a passion for learning, a love of SMU and the bonds that were formed on the Hilltop. Here are just a few of them:
For paver donor Jack Benage ’11, ’13, SMU is where he found the love of his life: “I donated this paver as a Valentine’s Day gift to Meredith Levine ’11, ’14, commemorating the day that we met on campus years ago. As it turns out, months later I asked her to marry me just steps from where the pavers [were] placed. Our paver is now a lasting tangible reminder of SMU’s role in bringing us together!”
Kellie P. Johnson ’95 honored Professors Brad Carter, Dennis Simon and Joe Kobylka: “I graduated with my B.S. in poli sci in 1995. I took almost every class taught by Drs. Simon, Carter and Kobylka. They were, by far, my favorite professors. I named my oldest son after Dr. Carter. I still email all three of them regularly and often stop by the Poli Sci Department when I’m on the Hilltop to just say ‘hi’ or chat as long as they’ll have me. They are great men, great teachers and great friends. I bought my paver to honor three individuals who made a lasting impact on my life.”
Many multigenerational SMU families are represented on the promenade. Among them are Deva Fontenot ’88 and her son, Dustin Fontenot ’13. She donated the brick as a lasting tribute to their Mustang pride: “I completed my education at SMU in 1988 with a degree in advertising. I always felt that this great University introduced me to talented people and had the ability to attract great professionals here to share their knowledge. When my oldest son applied to SMU, it was thrilling to see him accepted and create a legacy for our family. We have commemorated that with this paver displaying both of our names. It’s an honor to be a part of this beautiful promenade for always.”