Reporters may contact: Ann Abbas
SMU Public Affairs
(214) 768-7655

February 23, 2001


DALLAS (SMU) -- A commitment of $1 million to Southern Methodist University from Dallas alumni Fred and Jan Hegi; their sons, Peter and Brian; and Peter's wife, Amy, will provide the lead gift for a $3 million endowment and expansion of facilities and services of the SMU Career Center. In recognition of this gift, the center will be named the Hegi Family Career Center. The university will seek $2 million in additional funds for endowment of the Career Center and will continue to support the center in its annual budget.

"Attention to the individual student is integral to an SMU education, both in and out of the classroom," SMU President R. Gerald Turner said. "An important part of this individual focus is the university's commitment to help students prepare for success after graduation. This generous gift from the Hegi family will enable us to create a model career center among private universities and to provide exemplary services for SMU students as they prepare for the next phase of their lives."

Located in SMU's Hughes-Trigg Student Center, the present Career Center will be renovated and expanded to provide centralized services for students throughout the university. Six new interview rooms will increase to 10 the number available to employers interested in on-campus interviews with students. A large conference room for group presentations and a new waiting area also will be added. The Hegi Family Career Center will use new technologies including video and computer presentations and video conferencing.

"In an era of corporate downsizing and precarious employment patterns, effective career services have become increasingly important to American colleges and universities in meeting their responsibilities to students," said Vice President for Student Affairs James E. Caswell. "The Hegi Family Career Center will enable SMU to prepare students for competition in today's job market and help us to connect students with significantly more potential employers."

Currently approximately 40 percent of SMU undergraduates, more than 2,000 students, participate each year in career counseling, job search preparation and career fairs of the SMU Career Center. The center also serves about 200 graduate students and 400 to 500 alumni annually.

Plans for the center's future include programs to serve a broader range of constituents including undergraduates earlier in their college experience, students with broader career interests and alumni seeking career changes. A new Career Advantage Plan will guide undergraduate students through a four-year program to prepare them for entering the job market. It will provide students with tools such as networking, résumé preparation, interviewing skills and job search techniques.

The SMU Career Center currently has four professional staff members and three additional counselors funded separately by the Cox School of Business and Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences. Plans call for the addition of counselors specializing in professional preparation of graduates from Meadows School of the Arts and the School of Engineering.

The university will establish an advisory board composed of corporate leaders and other professionals who will help to strengthen networks with potential employers, expand services provided to students and develop additional funding for the center. Fred Hegi will serve as chair of the board.

The Hegis have strong ties with SMU. Graduating together in 1966, Fred Hegi received a B.B.A. degree, and Jan Hegi received a B.A. degree in elementary education. Fred Hegi went on to earn an M.B.A. from Harvard University and a Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin, where he taught corporate finance. Peter Hegi's wife, Amy, earned a B.A. degree in communication arts-advertising from SMU in l995.

"SMU has played an important role in our family's life, and the university means a great deal to us," said Fred Hegi. "Jan and I met at the university during our first week on campus in 1962. Many of our closest friendships were created during four very meaningful years there. Our daughter-in-law, Jan's two siblings and their spouses as well as my brother's wife have undergraduate degrees from SMU; three of them have graduate degrees also. Through this gift, we are honoring our broader family."

Fred and Jan Hegi are members of the Student Life Committee of The Campaign for SMU. He also serves on the Board of Directors of the Willis M. Tate Distinguished Lecture Series, and she is a member of the SMU Alumni Association Board of Directors. They served as co-chairs of the SMU Annual Fund in 1994-95 and co-chaired their 20th SMU class reunion committee in 1985-86.

Fred Hegi is a founding partner of Wingate Partners L.P., a Dallas investment company established in 1987. Wingate Partners invests primarily in manufacturing, distribution and service businesses, many of which participate in industries in transition. The firm brings both capital and management experience to strengthen and build these companies. Wingate's limited partners include major university endowments, public and private foundations, and substantial private families.

Dr. Hegi currently serves as chairman of United Stationers, the country's largest distributor of office and related products; Loomis, Fargo & Company, a major armored car services company; and two commercial banking organizations. He also participates on a number of corporate and civic boards of directors.

The Hegi gift for the SMU Career Center counts toward SMU's $400 million capital campaign launched in 1997. This five-year campaign is the most ambitious fund-raising effort in the university's history, with the largest goal ever sought by an institution in North Texas. The campaign seeks endowment and other support to continue strengthening the quality of students, faculty, academic programs and selected facilities at SMU.