Change of Venue: SMU Guildhall Planning Move Away From Plano

The university’s graduate program for game design will be housed in the forthcoming Gerald J. Ford Research and Innovation Building on the main Dallas campus.

SMU

Southern Methodist University’s graduate program for game design is planning to relocate from Plano to the main Dallas campus by 2020.

The forthcoming move comes as the university has put its Plano campus on the market. Though days are numbered, Plano programs will not be affected immediately. The current plan calls for the Guildhall move to happen in the summer of 2020, Julie Forrester, SMU associate provost for student academic services, told Dallas Innovates via email. And, youth camps scheduled for this summer will be unchanged.

“The SMU-in-Plano campus will remain open until the property is sold and perhaps for some time after that, depending on the terms of the sale,” Kent Best, the executive director of SMU’s Office of Public Affairs, said in a statement.

SMU Guildhall will relocate to the Gerald J. Ford Research and Innovation Building. The facility currently under construction also will house the AT&T Center for Virtualization, the Dedman College Interdisciplinary Institute, and Hart eCenter, an initiative dedicated to interdisciplinary research, education, and innovation which Guildhall resides within.

Alumni Gerald and Kelli Ford donated the lead $15 million for the building. Last week, SMU announced Dallas business leaders Linda and Mitch Hart also made a “significant gift,” toward the new center.

SMU Guildhall will move from its current location in Plano (pictured here) to the main Dallas campus by 2020. [Photo courtesy of SMU]

GUILDHALL CONSIDERED ONE OF THE TOP VIDEO GAME SCHOOLS

Guildhall has produced more than 700 graduates since it opened in 2003. Many of those students have gone on to work for top video game companies. Last year, Frisco’s Gearbox Software hired an entire team of graduating students to develop a virtual reality project. And, for the second consecutive year, The Princeton Review has named Guildhall one of the best schools for game design in the country.

“I look forward to seeing the exciting work this internationally recognized program will produce as it extends and expands its cutting-edge research in interactive technologies.”
Mitch Hart

Guildhall was the first gaming program in the world to introduce a master of interactive technology degree. With tracks in art, design, production, and programming, it’s also the only one to offer specializations encompassing “all four cornerstones of video game development,” according to its website.

“The growth of SMU Guildhall, both in programming and in stature, has been a source of tremendous pride for Linda and me ever since we made our first gift to establish the Hart eCenter,” said Mitch Hart in a statement. “I look forward to seeing the exciting work this internationally recognized program will produce as it extends and expands its cutting-edge research in interactive technologies.”

MOVE WILL OFFER OPPORTUNITIES FOR GROWTH, COLLABORATION

Gary Brubaker, Guildhall’s director, said the move to SMU’s main campus means more opportunities for collaboration. Guildhall faculty and students can work more closely with the Lyle School of Engineering and Meadows School of the Arts, for instance. He doesn’t foresee the venue change affecting any of the Guildhall’s work with developers in the gaming industry. 

“There are a number of programs we have wanted to offer, but lack the infrastructure in Plano.”
Gary Brubaker

“SMU Guildhall collaborates with studios worldwide. Texas and Dallas have a thriving ecosystem of game developers that partner with us,” Brubaker told Dallas Innovates via email. “With this move, we will be closer to some and a bit farther from others. In the end, I don’t think the move is far enough to make a significant difference.”

He said being on the main campus also will allow for growth hinting at possibilities for new offerings.

“There are a number of programs we have wanted to offer, but lack the infrastructure in Plano,” Brubaker said. “… Stay tuned for more details.”

PHOTO GALLERY

Photos courtesy of SMU.

SMU

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