SMU took a giant leap forward in the rapidly shifting digital frontier with the groundbreaking of the Gerald J. Ford Hall for Research and Innovation on February 22. SMU Trustee Gerald J. Ford ’66, ’69, his wife, Kelli O. Ford, and The Gerald J. Ford Family Foundation provided a $15 million lead gift to help fund construction of the new 50,000-square-foot interdisciplinary research hub, which will equip faculty, students and industry partners with tools and resources to collaborate, solve complex problems and power new enterprises.
“With this gift Gerald Ford is continuing his extraordinary legacy as a catalyst for excellence and growth for the University,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “His earlier vision and lead gift for the Ford Stadium has attracted tens of thousands of visitors to SMU each year and energized the campus and wider communities. Now, with the construction of the Gerald J. Ford Hall for Research and Innovation, SMU’s student and faculty research initiatives will be transformed, pushing the boundaries of knowledge and innovation.”
SMU Trustee Gerald J. Ford ’66, ’69 and his wife, Kelli O. Ford, with their daughters, Kelli and Electra, at the groundbreaking of the Gerald J. Ford Hall for Research and Innovation at SMU.
Researchers at SMU already are working with industry and community partners on diverse projects such as cloud computing and internet security, adult literacy and cancer research. With recent investments in computing capacity, the recruitment of specialized faculty expertise and investments in facilities such as Ford Hall, SMU plans more collaborative research projects like these in the next decade and beyond.
“This is a critical step in SMU’s journey to strengthen its research capabilities,” Ford said. “The University is creating an exciting space for bold doers and collaborators. It’s the next step in SMU’s ascendancy as a premier research and teaching university, and my family and I are honored to play a role in this process.”