’58 Alum Gives SMU $50M Toward New End Zone Complex for Gerald J. Ford Stadium

The gift by Weber, a 1958 alum and former Mustang football player, is the largest in the history of the SMU Athletic Department. It launches a $100M facility drive to build the 192,500-SF complex—which will house a team auditorium, new locker rooms, a weight room, position-specific meeting rooms, and more.

The Mustangs are about to get a fancier home corral. The Garry Weber Foundation is giving $50 million to SMU to help construct a three-tiered end zone complex at the university’s Gerald J. Ford Stadium.

Garry Weber [Photo: SMU]

The gift by Weber, a 1958 alum and former Mustang football player, is the largest in the history of the SMU Athletic Department. Weber is the founder, chairman, and CEO of Dallas-based Weber Financial, Inc. 

His gift launches a $100 million facility drive to build the 192,500-square-foot complex, which will anchor Ford Stadium’s south bowl.

SMU says the new concourse will offer more premium fan experiences, expand guest facilities, improve pedestrian accessibility, and add a breezeway joining the stadium’s entryways to the playing field within.

Complex will house a team auditorium, new locker rooms, and more

The Garry Weber End Zone Complex will include a team auditorium, new locker rooms, a weight room, meeting rooms, and a full kitchen and training table for SMU’s 484 student-athletes. Football coaches, support staff, and video and recruiting services will also get space inside.

“Both SMU and Dallas have played a substantial role in my life, and I feel honored to pay it forward to the next generation of Mustang student-athletes and fans,” Weber said in a statement. “Being a member of a team means striving for success for yourself and those around you, and I’m proud to continue to be a part of Mustang football and its future success and growth.”

In the 1950s, Garry Weber received a scholarship to attend SMU and play on the Mustangs football team. [Video still: SMU]

In a nod to hopes of future football glory on the Hilltop, Weber added one more thing:

“I hope that this gift will inspire SMU’s student-athletes and Mustang fans to dream bigger than they thought possible and to strive for a new level of excellence.”

‘An incredible trajectory of momentum’

“SMU is on an incredible trajectory of momentum,” Brad E. Cheves, SMU’s VP for development and external affairs, said in a video announcing the gift. “And with Garry Weber’s commitment, we are able to not only maintain that but increase that to levels that we didn’t even imagine. And that means not only an impact for Garry’s hometown of Dallas, but it reaches far beyond North Texas, the state, and literally the nation with the influence of what Division 1 athletics can mean to this great university.”

Rendering of the exterior of the new end zone complex. [Video still: SMU]

SMU president: ‘Great athletics increases the visibility of the university’

SMU President R. Gerald Turner notes that Weber “has been an integral part of SMU’s growth and success for many years…from remarkable student-athlete to distinguished alumnus and donor.”

“From its founding, SMU has always been focused on excellence in everything we do,” Turner added in the statement. “Having great athletics increases the visibility of the university.”

Weber’s gift is part of SMU’s recently announced $1.5 billion campaign for impact, SMU Ignited: Boldly Shaping Tomorrow. The gift pushes the total invested in SMU athletics facilities to $250 million since 2013.

Rendering of Garry Weber End Zone Complex. [Image: SMU]

Ford Stadium opened in 2000

Built 22 years ago, Ford Stadium’s construction was made possible through the support of Mustang alumni, donors, and community members. It was named for lead donor and SMU Trustee Gerald J. Ford (’66, ’69).

Now it’s about to get an exciting new look and feel, thanks to Weber’s gift and others to come.

A graduate of Cox School of Business

Weber is a graduate of SMU’s Cox School of Business. After hanging up his Mustang uniform and entering the business world, he served on the SMU Board of Trustees from 1984 to 1996. He’s been a member of the Cox School of Business Executive Board for over three decades.

In 1998, Weber received SMU’s Distinguished Alumni Award. In 2016, he was honored with the Silver Anniversary Mustang Award, the most prestigious award granted by the SMU Lettermen’s Association.

In addition to other gifts Weber has made to SMU, he’s also been active in educational and philanthropic causes including Scottish Rite for Children, UT Southwestern, the United Way, and the Boy Scouts of America.

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