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January 29, 2001


DALLAS, TEXAS USA (SMU) ---- Southern Methodist University President R. Gerald Turner will visit alumni, potential students and parents of current SMU students in Guatemala City, Guatemala; Panama City, Panama; and Monterrey and Mexico City, Mexico. The trip will be Feb. 7 - 13.

The purpose of this trip is to meet potential students from Latin American, develop closer relationships with alumni and SMU parents in the region, and support the international programs at SMU. Currently the SMU student body includes 27 students from Mexico, 21 from Guatemala and 10 from Panama. There are 108 alumni in Mexico, 12 in Guatemala and 17 in Panama.

SMU's 10th president, R. Gerald Turner joined the University in summer 1995. In his inauguration speech, he outlined several areas of focus for the future responding to key national and international challenges -- globalization of the curriculum, increased cultural diversity, expanded community outreach and service, strengthened programs in telecommunications, enhanced use of information technology, the inclusion of ethical issues throughout the curriculum and strengthened programs to prepare students for leadership in the health care professions.

Accompanying President Turner will be his wife, Gail; Al Casey, distinguished executive in residence at SMU's Cox School of Business and co-chair of the International Committee of the Campaign for SMU; Pat Patterson, Dallas businesswoman and member of the Executive Board of the Cox School of Business and the Board of Directors of the Willis M. Tate Distinguished Lecture Series; Linda Kao, director of MBA International Programs at SMU's Cox School of Business; Michael Clarke, director of International Undergraduate Admissions; Marcee Taylor, associate director of International Undergraduate Admissions; and Robert Bucker, assistant vice president of development at SMU.

"Over the years the SMU family has forged many bonds with Latin America and I am honored to return and renew old friendships and make new acquaintances," said SMU President R.Gerald Turner. "We are proud of the leadership roles SMU's Latin American graduates have assumed and we want to make prospective students aware of how SMU prepares them for success in today's global economy."

President Turner's host in Monterrey, Mexico, is Gonzalo Escamez. Mr. Escamez graduated from SMU in 1990 with an M.B.A. degree in general business. He is the president of the Diverse Industries Division of Grupo Vitro S.A. based in Monterrey. Founded in 1909, Vitro has joint ventures with 12 major world-class manufacturers that provide its subsidiaries with access to international markets, distribution channels and state-of-the-art technology. He is a recipient of SMU's Cox School of Business Distinguished Young Alumni Award.

Juan and Ingrid Elek and their son, Pablo, will host President Turner in Mexico City. The Eleks are members of SMU's International Office Advisory Council. Juan Elek is the founder and co-chairman of Elek, Moreno Valley Asociados, an investment banking firm in Mexico City that advises major Mexican and multinational companies. Pablo Elek is currently a senior at SMU pursuing a B.B.A. degree in finance.

In Guatemala City, President Turner's primary hosts are Luis Miguel and Maria Stella Aguirre. They also are members of SMU's International Office Advisory Council. Mr. Aguirre is the president of Banco Reformador S.A., one of the four largest national commercial banking organizations in Guatemala. The Aguirres have three children. Luis Miguel Aguirre Jr. graduated from SMU May 2000 with a B.B.A. degree in finance and a minor in economics. Their second son, Jose Manuel Aguirre, is a first-year pre-business major at SMU.

Ricardo and Marta Martinelli will be the primary hosts for President Turner in Panama City. They also are members of SMU's International Office Advisory Council. Ricardo Martinelli is Minister for Canal Affairs and the chairman of the Panama Canal Authority's Board of Directors. He also is associated with Limar Investment Company and is the president of Super 99, a large chain of Panamanian supermarkets. Their son, Luis, is a first year student at SMU majoring in pre-business.