Stewarding a Legacy of Service and Civility

SMU Tower Center Board Member, Nancy Halbreich, is a civic leader in the Dallas community. Along with serving at the Center Nancy is a board member of the Dallas Museum of Art, the SMU Maguire Center for Ethics and Public Responsibility, The Peter O’Donnell Jr. Brain Institute at UTSW, Charter 100, Southwestern Medical Foundation, and Parkland Foundation. Halbreich is a trustee of the Hamon Foundation and a past trustee of The Hockaday School. She is a member of the AT&T Performing Arts Center emeritus board and a trustee of their Endowment Foundation. She is a member of Crystal Charity Ball, Dallas Woman’s Club, Junior League of Dallas and many other civic and charity groups.

We asked her to share her experience as one of the founding members of the Tower Center and why she has supported the Center for 25 years.

I have been a part of the Center since its inception. My mother, Annette Straus, helped Jeanne Tower Cox and Penny Tower Cook form the Center in 1996. After my mother passed away, I came on the Board and have been so impressed and proud of how Jeanne and Penny have carried on their father’s legacy. As a long-time supporter of Senator Tower, the Center does an amazing job continuing to reflect the Senator’s tenants of bipartisanship and diversity in thought.

It is important to have a policy-minded and civic-focused organization like the SMU Tower Center in Dallas because there is so much noise and chaos in the world. We need a safe place to go that promotes sound reasoning and rational thought.

One of the programs I have been most impressed by is the Highland Capital Management Tower Scholars. The students come from very diverse backgrounds and different disciplines yet use this diversity to come together to discuss and find solutions to complex issues. I have been fortunate to witness their end-of-year research practicums and always come away amazed and hopeful for the future after listening to these bright, articulate and optimistic undergraduate students. They will truly make a difference in this world and be the future leaders of tomorrow, changing the world for the better.

SMU President R. Gerald Turner and Nancy Halbreich receiving the J. Erik Jonsson Ethics Award

I am also proud of the Medal of Freedom events and the caliber of people that we have brought to SMU and the Dallas community. It has been an honor to be a part of the committee that helps recognizes leaders like Margaret Thatcher and Colin Powell, to name a few, who made extraordinary contributions to the advancement of democratic ideals and to the security, prosperity and welfare of humanity.

The Center continues to grow and become more diverse, welcoming diversity of thought and opinions, and exposing SMU students and the Dallas community to ideas that are bigger than ourselves. I want the Center to continue to bring speakers to Dallas with different viewpoints and positions on public policy that are no less legitimate than ours. This Center is committed to serving students and the community and I believe Senator Tower would be so proud of the legacy he has left.

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