Reporters may contact: Patti LaSalle
SMU Public Affairs
(214) 768-7660


February 14, 2001


Click on the photos below to view or download high-resolution .jpg versions.


Robert and Nancy Dedman, Dean John Attanasio, and President R. Gerald Turner

DALLAS (SMU) -- At a noon ceremony today, Southern Methodist University announced the renaming of its 75-year-old School of Law in honor of law school alumnus Robert H. Dedman Sr.; his wife, Nancy, also an SMU graduate; and their family. Together they have pledged $20 million to endow the school, which will be known as the Dedman School of Law. Second-generation family members are Robert Dedman Jr., also a law alumnus, and his wife, Rachael Redeker Dedman; and Patricia Dedman Dietz and her husband, Mark Dietz.

"Robert and Nancy Dedman's commitment to SMU through the years has been truly extraordinary," SMU President R. Gerald Turner said. "Through their great generosity of time, talents and financial resources, they have played a major role in the university's progress. We are grateful for their visionary support, which will benefit both present and future generations of students."

The $20 million commitment from the Dedman family and Dedman Foundation includes a new $5 million challenge grant to be matched by other new gifts to the School of Law, with the goal of providing an endowment of $25 million for the school. This will bring the Law School's total endowment to more than $90 million.

A pledge of $30 million from Robert H. Dedman Sr., Nancy Dedman and the Dedman Foundation, the largest single gift in SMU history, was announced at the kickoff of The Campaign for SMU in April 1997. At that time, the donors designated $12 million of the gift toward construction of the new Dedman Life Sciences Building, to open in spring 2002. Later they established a $2.5 million endowed scholarship at SMU for students of North Dallas High School, Robert Dedman Sr.'s alma mater. Previously undesignated, $15 million of the 1997 pledge is now being designated for Law School endowment. With the addition of the $5 million challenge grant for the School of Law, the Dedmans' cumulative gifts and pledges to SMU have a current value in excess of $77 million.


From Left: President R. Gerald Turner, Alan Feld, Mike Boone, Robert Dedman Sr., Robert Dedman Jr., Rachael Dedman, and Nancy Dedman

The School of Law is the second of SMU's six degree-granting schools to bear the Dedman name. Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences was named in honor of the Dedmans following their 1981 pledge of $25 million to endow the school. A portion of that gift funded the Dedman Professorships in Economics and History, both in Dedman College. In 1976 the Dedmans contributed $1 million toward construction of the Dedman Center for Lifetime Sports, a multi-use sports complex for SMU students, faculty and staff.

SMU's degree-granting schools, in addition to Dedman College and Dedman School of Law, are the Edwin L. Cox School of Business, Meadows School of the Arts, Perkins School of Theology and the School of Engineering.

SMU School of Law

"All of the major business centers like New York, Boston, Chicago and San Francisco have one or more law schools ranked in the top 10 of the country. It is important that Dallas try to build a top 10 law school to better compete with these other major business centers," Robert Dedman Sr. said.

"The Dedman family's endowment of the School of Law will be a major catalyst in achieving our goal of moving the school into the ranks of the very top law schools in the nation," SMU Law School Dean John B. Attanasio said. "The school has already taken important steps toward that goal, and with the financial commitment of the Dedmans, I am confident that this level of excellence will be reached."

The SMU School of Law was founded in 1925. It has more than 9,000 alumni and in fall 2000 had a total enrollment of 852 students.

The school's international LL.M. program was among the first to be established in the country. Since the 1950s, the SMU Law School has graduated more than 1,200 international lawyers from more than 65 countries, among whom have been justices of the Supreme Courts of Japan, Korea and Taiwan and ministers of Panama, Thailand, Costa Rica and Argentina.

"It is important that SMU continue the tradition of producing some of the most effective business leaders and top quality lawyers in Dallas, the nation and the world," Robert Dedman Jr. said. "I want to thank the faculty and my fellow students for the quality of the education and friendships that I have established through the law school."

The SMU law faculty is especially recognized for its expertise in corporate, commercial and tax law; litigation and alternative dispute resolution; international and comparative law; intellectual property and e-commerce; environmental law; and health law. The Underwood Law Library ranks 26th in titles and 34th in volumes in the country and is the largest private law library in the Southwest.


Robert and Nancy Dedman

The school's legal clinics were among the first to be established in the country. Over the past 50 years, the school has established clinics dealing in civil law, taxation, poverty law, domestic violence, criminal defense and criminal prosecution. Also among the first in the country, the school's Public Service Program requires each student to provide 30 hours of pro bono law-related community work. Five journals are published at the school: the SMU Law Review, the Journal of Air Law and Commerce, The International Lawyer, NAFTA: Law and Business Review of the Americas and the Computer Law Review and Technology Journal.

"Our hope is that the challenge grant will encourage others to accelerate their generous support of the Law School," Robert Dedman Jr. said. "Getting the funds quicker will enable the school to attract and retain even better faculty. Making the school more affordable will help us to attract even better students, who will increase the law school's ranking and who will serve as leaders throughout the Metroplex and the world."

In 1998 The American Lawyer ranked SMU 29th in placement of recent graduates at the nation's top 100 law firms. In the 1999 class, 65 percent of SMU law students were employed upon graduating, and 98 percent were employed within nine months of graduation. Their median private sector starting salary was $74,000.

"Although law schools are charged with the mission of producing outstanding lawyers and jurists, equally important is their role in producing leaders outside the field of law," said SMU Provost Ross C Murfin. "Graduates of the SMU School of Law have distinguished themselves in diverse fields, and we expect future graduates of the Dedman School of Law to extend the school's influence and stature still further in the fields of jurisprudence, business, government and beyond."

The Dedmans' Involvement with SMU

"I often talk about the thrill of giving while living," Robert Dedman Sr. said. "It is fun to be able to give back to an institution that has helped us so much to be a success in law, business and life."

In addition to their philanthropy, the Dedmans have given generous service to the university. Robert Dedman Sr. has been a member of SMU's Board of Trustees since 1976 and served as board chair from 1992 to 1996. He currently serves as one of five co-chairs of The Campaign for SMU and as a member of the executive boards of Dedman College and the School of Law.

Nancy Dedman is a current member of the Dedman College Executive Board, Dedman Capital Campaign Committee and the board of the Willis M. Tate Distinguished Lecture Series. She has served on boards for the Godbey Lecture Series in Dedman College and the G. William Jones Collection of films and videotapes in Meadows School of the Arts.

Robert Dedman Jr. is chair elect of SMU's 21st Century Council and has served on the executive boards of the Law School and the John Goodwin Tower Center for Political Studies in Dedman College. His wife, Rachael, serves on the board of Meadows School of the Arts.


Robert Dedman Sr.

SMU has honored Robert Dedman Sr. with the Entrepreneur of the Year Award from the Cox School of Business in 1976, the university's Distinguished Alumni Award in 1980, and the Law School's Robert G. Storey Award for Distinguished Achievement in 2000. Both Robert and Nancy Dedman received SMU's Mustang Award for longtime service and philanthropy in 1995.

The Dedman family's ties to SMU include several earned degrees. Robert Dedman Sr. received his Master of Laws degree from SMU, and Nancy Dedman received a bachelor's degree in political science with Phi Beta Kappa honors. Their daughter, Patricia, earned a master's degree in psychology from SMU; and their son, Robert Dedman Jr., earned both J.D. and M.B.A. degrees from SMU. Robert Dedman Jr.'s wife, Rachael Redecker Dedman, earned a Master of Liberal Arts degree from SMU.

Starting with Brookhaven Country Club in the late 1950s, Robert Dedman Sr. developed ClubCorp, the world's largest operator of golf courses, private clubs and resorts. ClubCorp now spans the globe with 250 properties and more than 500,000 members in Australia, Asia, Mexico, Europe and throughout the United States. Robert Dedman Sr. is now chairman of ClubCorp, and Robert Dedman Jr. is ClubCorp's president and CEO. Mr. Dedman Sr. turned the day-to-day management over to his son as chief executive in 1998, but he remains active in ClubCorp's operation.