SMU Engineering School Gifted $20M


Entrance to Southern Methodist University. SMU is a private research university in Texas. | Image by Ken Wolter, Shutterstock

Southern Methodist University has received $20 million for the Bobby B. Lyle School of Engineering from philanthropists Mary and Rich Templeton. 

Rich Templeton is an SMU trustee and chairman and also the president and chief executive officer of Texas Instruments. He has served on the company’s board of directors since 2003. 

Mary Templeton is a philanthropist who served on boards for many organizations such as The University of Dallas, the Ursuline Academy of Dallas Foundation, the Southwest Region Boys and Girls Clubs of America, and more, according to a profile by the United Way. 

In a press release, SMU said it will use “$15 million to support engineering education and research, providing endowment and operational support for strategic initiatives such as postdoctoral fellowships and research, financial assistance for doctoral students and undergraduate scholarships for women and students from underrepresented populations.” 

The other $5 million will be used to “endow and name the school’s dean position.” 

“Through their enduring commitment to the Lyle School of Engineering and its mission, Mary and Rich Templeton are helping our faculty and students build a brighter tomorrow,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner, as reported by NBC 5 DFW.

“SMU provides the kind of robust education and research opportunities that are vital to the success and growth of Dallas. Mary and I are proud to be a part of SMU’s mission to inspire greatness in its students, its faculty and its Mustang community members around the world,” said Rich Templeton, per My Sweet Charity.

“Giving back to the community has always been a priority for our family,” said Mary Templeton, per SMU’s press release. “The Lyle School has a proven reputation for building future leaders who are unafraid to ask big questions. Rich and I are eager to see how our gift will support that kind of innovative thinking.” 

The endowment has also created the Mary and Richard Templeton Engineering Excellence Program, which will provide support to postdoctoral fellowships, as well as access to scholarships for doctoral candidates and undergraduates.  

Nader Jalili will be the inaugural Mary and Richard Templeton Dean. Due to the donation, all eight degree-granting schools at SMU will have donor-supported deans, per SMU.  

“The Templetons’ continuing generosity to SMU and to the Lyle School underscores how important visionary philanthropic leaders can be to the success and future of our University,” said Brad E. Cheves, SMU vice president for Development and External Affairs, per SMU. “Through their strategic contributions, Mary and Rich are laying the foundation for more bright minds to think big and do good together.”

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