Contact: Ann Abbas
SMU Public Affairs
(214) 768-7655

August 22, 2001


DALLAS (SMU) -- A gift of $1.5 million from Kenneth R. and Linda A. Morris of Sonoma, California, will provide a new Information Technology Center to serve the computing and telecommunications needs of the Southern Methodist University campus community.

The gift will help fund an additional floor in the new Laura Lee Blanton Student Services Building to be constructed at SMU Boulevard and Airline Road. The Information Technology Center will occupy the entire fourth floor of the building.

"Over the past several years, Ken and Linda Morris have given generously of their time, resources and counsel in helping SMU take advantage of the rapidly evolving new world of technology," said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. "We are grateful for this new gift, which will enable the university to serve faculty, students and staff with the latest technology in information access and communication."

In 1998 the Morrises gave SMU $1 million to establish the Technology Infrastructure Fund, which provides the campus community with improved access to SMU computing and communications services supporting all schools and departments of the university.

The new Information Technology Center in the Blanton Building will house various departments of SMU's Information Technology Services (ITS), including User Services, Academic Computing Services, Telecommunications, Applications Support, Technology Training, Computer Sales and Computer Operations. These departments provide computing services and support, training, repairs, equipment purchase consultation and other guidance for students, faculty and staff for all on-line and desktop computing and for telecommunication services. ITS is currently housed in the Bradfield Computing Center, built in 1957 and expanded in 1962, which was designed to support an earlier information technology environment.

"The new Information Technology Center will provide an environment to support state-of-the-art communication through integrated networks supplying the tools that now dominate the digital world -- e-mail, voicemail, server access and Internet services," said Morgan R. Olsen, SMU vice president for business and finance. "The center will give ITS a new presence on the campus and will make its services more accessible."

Ken Morris is widely recognized for his leadership in software development. He is the retired co-founder of PeopleSoft, which he led to become one of the nation's top providers of business-oriented software. He graduated from SMU in 1972 with a B.B.A. degree in finance and is a current member of the Executive Board of SMU's Edwin L. Cox School of Business. Ken Morris now serves as president and Linda Morris as vice president of the Morris Foundation, which they established in 1993.

In addition to the Information Technology Center, the Blanton Student Services Building will house the offices of Enrollment Services (Admission, Financial Aid, Registration and Student Financial Services), and other student support services. The building is named in memory of Laura Lee Blanton of Houston, longtime SMU trustee who with her husband, Jack S. Blanton, provided the lead gift of $5 million toward the $14 million building. Groundbreaking for the building is scheduled in February 2002.

The Blanton Student Services Building will be the centerpiece of the new east quadrangle on the SMU campus. Only two blocks from North Central Expressway via SMU Boulevard, this area is eventually expected to become the major visitors' entrance to the SMU campus. The Jerry R. Junkins Electrical Engineering Building is already under construction in the east quadrangle.

The Morrises' gift 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.