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The project was made possible by a 1997 gift of $1.5 million from the Fondren Foundation of Houston. Additional gifts were received from Charles E. and Barbara A. Selecman, the Hoblitzelle Foundation of Dallas, Jackie ('62, '82) and John ('56,'58) McElhaney, Tavenner C. Lupton III ('79), Henry S. Miller, Jr. ('34) and Carmen Miller Michael ('45), Vernell ('79) and Ronald ('79) Guest, Helen B. and Jimmy C. ('54) Payton, Carole S. and James F. ('56) Young, Eugene Straus Charitable Trust, Martha Hess Whitehead ('62) and Anna Katherine Whitehead ('98), Nancy and Bob Gibson and the families of Kathleen and Robert ('81, '82) Gibson, Susan and Lee ('78) Gibson, Linda ('78) and Kenneth ('72,'75) Stephens, the SMU Senior Class of 1999, and Friends of the SMU Libraries.
Cutting the ribbon on the new Fondren Library Center are from left to right, Sue Whitfield ('54), Central University Librarian Gillian McCombs, Charles E. Selecman ('51), President R. Gerald Turner, Provost Ross C Murfin, and Rev. James Glasscock ('60, '75).
Comments from the Fondren Library Center dedication
Sue Trammel Whitfield
"We've heard the saying that Ross has already alluded to, 'A school cannot be a university without a great library.' This component of the University is more important today than ever before, especially with the development of computers.
"I am proud, that for three generations, my family has had a part in the development of the libraries at SMU.
"Now, as we look forward and ponder the meaning of the Fondren Library Center - the future of the University - I would like to look back a few years to my first visit on campus. It was for the dedication of the building now called Fondren West. The portraits of my grandparents were hung where they are now and were draped in a neutral colored fabric with long cords hanging down to the point where we children could reach them. Speeches were made. I don't really remember if my grandmother spoke, I'm sure she did because she always did.
"Then the grandchildren were asked to line up, the girls by MoMo's picture and the boys by Granddad's. And as I recall, at the right time, we dutifully pulled the cords and the portraits were revealed. There was a pause and the brief program ended. This began our long history at SMU, which I am very proud to celebrate today. And thank you for celebrating with us.
"And now it is my pleasure to present to Taylor Martin this CD symbolizing the information technology that makes Fondren Library resources more accessible to students and alumni. My hope is that the center not only advances your studies today, but that through the traditional and technological resources housed here, it will beckon you and others to come back here. Thank you so much."
Charles E. Selecman
"Sixty years ago I was standing on this spot, only then it was a field of black dirt. My grandfather and grandmother cleaned me up and brought me up here to be part of the groundbreaking for Fondren Library. My, how proud my grandfather was to see the start of a great library building for Southern Methodist University. As he said, 'The library is the heart of a university.'
"I wish I had a couple of hours to share with you all of my recollections of literally growing up with SMU.
"Some of my first recollections of SMU are going to the football games with my grandfather, sitting in the president's box, which was the first row, 50-yard line of Ownby Stadium. I could barely see over the team benches, but I can clearly remember seeing the action of those really 'big boys' banging into each other, which usually ended up with a mountain of players stacked up in front of me.
"Also, I recall so well spending the night with my grandparents in the President's house across Hillcrest listening to the clanging of the streetcars and my grandfather's stories of growing up on the farm outside of St. Joseph, Missouri.
"I guess my grandfather, Charles C. Selecman, the third president of SMU, was known as a strict disciplinarian and administrator. To me, he was a loving and humorous man, who tried to teach me Christian values, integrity, honesty, and hard work.
"My father, Frank Selecman, was a devoted doctor and surgeon, who loved SMU as much as his father did. We all considered SMU to be 'our University!'
"I sincerely hope that they are looking down on us today with great pride. As for looking down on me, I am absolutely sure they are surprised!
"So here we are 60 years later 'where it never rains till after midnight, by 8 a.m. the morning fog has flown, don't let it be forgot,' that there is a spot for happy ever aftering that is known as Southern Methodist University."