SMU Creates 8th Degree-Granting School with $100M Gift from Moody Foundation

SMU called the gift, the largest in its history, a transformational and historic moment that will boost its reputation as a research university.

SMU gift

A $100 million gift from the Moody Foundation will allow Southern Methodist University to create its eighth degree-granting school, the new Moody School of Graduate and Advanced Studies.

The gift from the Galveston-based foundation is the largest in SMU history.

“We cannot overstate the power and reach of this gift,” SMU President R. Gerald Turner in a release. “This is a transformational moment for SMU and Dallas, signaling that SMU is a premier institution with the means to be a full partner in commercial and global problem-solving, and a pipeline for leaders to tackle those challenges.”

The school will begin formal operations in the 2020-2021 academic year, SMU said.


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The Moody Foundation has a long history of backing SMU with major gifts, including one that built the school’s basketball facility, Moody Coliseum. 

SMU said that the investment in graduate-level education is aimed at enabling greater interdisciplinary collaboration and creative problem solving and boost the university’s reputation for research excellence.

Also, the Moody School of Graduate Studies will include construction of Moody Hall, which will serve as headquarters for the Moody School and will facilitate faculty and student interaction that generates interdisciplinary research, SMU said in the release. Partnerships with corporations and other universities such as UT Southwestern Medical Center will also be at the core of the research pursued in the Moody School, SMU said. 

“I am eager to see what the combination of world-changing students and faculty coupled with exceptional resources will produce on this campus, in the region and across Texas,” Frances Moody-Dahlberg, the foundation’s executive director and chairman, said in the release.

SMU said the gift will fund multiple endowments for faculty, a deanship, and financial support for graduate students.

SMU will build on a variety of programs with the gift

SMU offers 25 doctoral programs, and the university said the new commitment from the foundation will allow it to build on programs in the sciences, humanities, engineering, arts, and education. The Moody School with be the home for graduate degrees from the Dedman College of Science and Humanities, the Lyle School of Engineering, the Simmons School of Education and Human Development, and Meadows School of the Arts.

“As the Texas economy booms, companies and institutions look to universities like SMU for innovative ideas, data-driven research and technology that can create opportunity,” Turner said. “The Moody School will be the portal to all of our resources – the entry point for any organization with a research challenge to approach the University for partnership.”

The Moody gift is the latest substantial commitment to the university.

In October, the Edwin L. Cox School of Business received a $50 million gift from Carolyn and David B. Miller, at that time the largest alumni gift in the school’s history.


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The commitment will support an expansive strategic plan that includes modernizing the curriculum, offering more and broader scholarships to students worldwide, collaborating across interdisciplinary programs, enhancing facilities, and extending community outreach via corporate partnerships, and increased inclusivity.

Also last monty, longtime SMU supporter Bobby Lyle designated $10 million to back a new strategic vision for his namesake, the Lyle School of Engineering.

SMU said its new bold plan for the future of the school combines innovation, agility, and swift responses to the shifts in technological capabilities with enduring institutional support.

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