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SMU Public Affairs
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June 14, 2001


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DALLAS (SMU) -- Dallas-based business leader Gerald J. Ford has been named chair-elect of Southern Methodist University's Board of Trustees. Ford was unanimously elected at the board meeting on May 11. He will succeed current Board Chair Ruth Altshuler when her term expires in spring 2002.

"Gerald Ford is a loyal alumnus who has given generous support and leadership to programs throughout the university, including Dedman College, Dedman School of Law, Edwin L. Cox School of Business and SMU athletics," SMU President R. Gerald Turner said. "As chair of the Board of Trustees beginning next year, he will continue the tradition of outstanding leadership that strengthens and guides our progress."

Ford has been a member of the SMU Board of Trustees since 1992. He is chair of the board's Finance Committee and a member of its Executive Committee, Trusteeship Committee, Committee on Athletics and Executive Committee of the Campaign for SMU. He also currently serves as co-chair of the Dedman College Campaign Committee and on the Executive Board of Dedman School of Law. He is a former member of the Executive Boards of Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, Edwin L. Cox School of Business, John Goodwin Tower Center for Political Studies and Willis M. Tate Distinguished Lecture Series.

Ford is chair of the board and chief executive officer of Golden State Bancorp Inc., headquartered in San Francisco. It is a holding company for the nation's second largest thrift institution and California's fourth largest bank. He also is board chair and CEO of Liberté Investors Inc., an investment firm. Described as a quintessential entrepreneurial banker, the West Texas native began his banking career by purchasing a number of small banks in rural areas of the state.

"Under the administration of President Turner, this has been an era of unprecedented progress for SMU, and Gerald Ford is an excellent choice to work with him in continuing the momentum," said current Board Chair Ruth Altshuler. "When he takes office in May 2002, we will have completed the largest capital campaign in SMU's history, due in part to Mr. Ford's generosity. With his entrepreneurial and management skills, he will ably lead SMU in the planning stages for the next campaign, which will raise even more resources for academic enhancements."

Ford earned two degrees from SMU -- a Bachelor of Arts in economics in 1966 and a Juris Doctor from the School of Law in 1969. In 1995 he received the SMU Distinguished Alumni Award, and in 1997 he received SMU's Mustang Award honoring those whose longtime service and philanthropy have had a lasting impact on the university. The Gerald J. Ford Stadium, completed in September 2000, is named in his honor.

Ford provided the lead gift of $20 million for the new campus football stadium. He also has supported the SMU Annual Fund, Law Alumni Fund, President's Scholars program and Dedman College programs.

Ford's civic activities include service as a trustee of the Children's Medical Foundation and Southwestern Medical Foundation, member of the Dallas Citizens Council and director of the Dallas Boys and Girls Clubs, Inc.