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March 16, 2001


Please click here to view examples of art from the Meadows Collection.

Click on the photo of the King and Queen to download a high-resolution .jpg version.

DALLAS (SMU) -- King Juan Carlos I and Queen Sofía of Spain will attend the International Festival of Opening Events for the new Meadows Museum at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. The King also will receive an honorary degree from the university.

King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofía will be at SMU March 29-30 for events climaxing a 12-day festival celebrating the opening of the new Meadows Museum, which houses one of the largest and most comprehensive collections of Spanish art outside of Spain. The King is honorary president of the International Inaugural Committee of Honor for the museum's opening.

The King and Queen will attend a private dinner Thursday, March 29. At the dinner, SMU will recognize the late Algur and Virginia Meadows and The Meadows Foundation and family for their gift of the museum and its internationally acclaimed collection spanning 1,000 years of Spanish art.

On Friday, March 30, King Juan Carlos will receive an honorary degree from SMU, the highest academic honor the university can confer. The citation for the honorary Doctor of Arts degree recognizes him "as the gifted designer of one of the most remarkable political transitions in the history of Europe, and as the architect of a vibrant democracy and civil society."

SMU President R. Gerald Turner said, "SMU is honored to recognize King Juan Carlos for his international leadership and contributions to the strength of democratic societies. In joining us for events celebrating the opening of the Meadows Museum, the King and Queen help us to honor the lasting impact of Spanish art and culture on our world."

A bas relief bronze portrait of the King by Spanish sculptor Miguel Zapata will be unveiled in the Meadows Museum, where it will be permanently displayed to commemorate the visit of the King and Queen. The bronze plaque is a gift from the William A. Custard family. The museum's entrance hall, where the plaque will be displayed, will be dedicated as la Sala Reina Sofía in honor of the Queen's visit.

In addition, King Juan Carlos will participate in a campus ceremony with Spanish architect, engineer and sculptor Santiago Calatrava, whose architecture is the subject of the inaugural special exhibition of the Meadows Museum. The exhibition in the museum's Jake and Nancy Hamon Galleries is funded by The Margot W. and Ben H. Mitchell Fund of Communities Foundation of Texas.

"The generous presence and participation of their Majesties during the International Festival of Opening Events of the new Meadows Museum dramatically underscore the import of the collection, culturally and aesthetically," said Carole Brandt, dean of SMU's Meadows School of the Arts. "Together, we celebrate the lives and talents of the people of Spain through the majesty of great art."

King Juan Carlos was born in 1938 in Rome. He was educated in Spain, completing his education at the Complutense University in Madrid. He married Princess Sofía of Greece in 1962. They took up residence at Zarzuela Palace in the outskirts of Madrid, where they continue to live today. They have three children, Infanta Elena, Infanta Cristina and Prince Philip.

Following the death of Francisco Franco, previous head of state, Juan Carlos was proclaimed King in l975. He immediately set forth the basic principles of his reign, which were to re-establish democracy and to be the King of all Spaniards. The transition to democracy started with the Political Reform Act of 1976. The following year, the first democratic elections since 1936 were held. The new constitution established a parliamentary monarchy.

King Juan Carlos' European leadership and his role in the reestablishment of democracy in Spain have been recognized with many international prizes. He personally supports the development of new technologies in Spain and encourages many initiatives in areas such as economy and business, research and social advances.

Queen Sofía, a member of one of the oldest royal houses in Europe, was born in 1938 in Athens. She spent part of her childhood in Egypt and South Africa while the family was exiled from Greece during World War II. In 1946 she returned to her country, where she completed her education.

Today the Queen is actively involved in social and welfare activities. She is executive president of the Queen Sofía Foundation and honorary president of the Royal Trust for Education and Help for the Handicapped and of the Foundation for Aid Against Drug Addiction, as well as several musical and cultural institutions. She also takes part in various international projects for the development of women in rural communities and the expansion of small businesses.

SMU's new Meadows Museum houses a permanent collection dating from the 10th to the 20th century, which includes major works by Spanish masters such as Velázquez, Ribera, El Greco, Murillo, Goya, Gris, Picasso and Miró. Museum holdings also include works by major 20th-century European and American sculptors.

Located on Bishop Boulevard just north of the Mockingbird Lane entrance to the campus, the new museum is six times larger than the 35-year-old campus facility previously housing the Meadows Collection. The new building doubles the exhibition space for the permanent collection and significantly expands facilities for special exhibitions, research, education and public programming.

The Meadows Museum and Meadows Collection were developed through the generosity and dedication of the late Algur H. Meadows of Dallas. The Meadows Foundation has continued to support the museum through the years and provided $20 million for design and construction of the new museum building.

SMU is a private, comprehensive university located in Dallas. It has an enrollment of more than 10,000 students and a full-time faculty of more than 500. SMU offers undergraduate degree programs in Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, Meadows School of the Arts, Edwin L. Cox School of Business and the School of Engineering. Graduate and professional programs are offered in these schools and in Perkins School of Theology and Dedman School of Law.