Contact: Patti LaSalle
SMU Public Affairs
(214) 768-7660

 

RESPONSE OF LIENER TEMERLIN

October 18, 2001
Upon establishment of the
Temerlin Advertising Institute for Education and Research

Thank you so very much for that beautiful introduction, Ruth. Accurate or not, it was all very flattering.

This is all so overwhelming. It’s difficult to believe.

When I started in the business almost 50 years ago, I was in hopes I could make a living for my family. Perhaps even, earn a little distinction along the way. But on my wildest creative landscape, this honor was not on the horizon.

In trying to express my feelings, I find there’s a poverty of phrases and absence of appropriate adjectives.

Some weeks after SMU visited with Dennis McClain, he walked into my office to outline their discussions and proposal.

For me, it was an early morning emotional cocktail and suddenly very powerful feelings were in juxtaposition with one another.

On the one hand, I was humbled. On the other, there was great pride. On still another scale, there were practical and fund raising considerations. Yet on the other a teary-eyed wave of sentimentality.

First, I thought of my parents.

When my father was a very young man, he left Russia during the Romanoff regime to escape the pogroms of that era. In those days, the Jews in his little village were not permitted to attend universities.

I could not help but wonder what he might think if he were alive today to see his family name on the wall of a great and prestigious university. There has never been a more appropriate time for me to say “Only in America.”

And I thought of my mother. In just four days, she will be one hundred years old. My family and I will drive her by to see the Temerlin name on a wall of the Meadows building.

However, in her ever-shrinking world, I doubt she will comprehend any of it. But perhaps she may understand just enough to be very proud of her 73-year-old son.

There are so many people to thank. Yet so little time to do so.

I want to express my appreciation to the Board of Trustees of Southern Methodist University and to its Chair, Ruth Altshuler.

And for suggesting the naming opportunity and for defining its mission and bringing this honor to the attention of the agency and Dennis McClain, I want to thank the President of SMU, Dr. Gerald Turner. The Dean of the Meadows School, Dr. Carole Brandt. And the chair of the Division of Advertising Jim Goodnight. And, of course, the Provost Ross Murfin.

And, of course, my profound thanks to all of those who so generously provided the resources. To whom I shall forever be grateful.

To name just a few. My thanks to Ross Perot and his extraordinary family for making the lead gift. The Perots have always been there for me as well as for my family. But as the whole world knows, the Perots have always been there for everyone, for our city, for our state and for our nation. Their great deeds are in evidence at every turn.

I want to express my gratitude to The Richards Group for pledging the lead gift to name the Creative Chair in honor of Stan. There could not be a better choice. The Stan Richards Creative Chair will bring great distinction not only to the Institute but to SMU as well. In my judgment, Stan is the pre-eminent creative director in our business today. When we both started our careers, Stan and I worked side by side for many years. It will be exciting to work with Stan again on the Advisory Board to the Institute.

And to Rosemary and Roger Enrico, my deep appreciation for their very generous gift. In the world of advertising, marketing and leadership, Roger is known worldwide as Mr. Fix-It. When Roger was Chairman and CEO of PepsiCo, he was the man who put his finger in the dike when there were problems to be solved. Or opened the floodgates where there were opportunities. No one did it more successfully. Roger has been on more covers of our major magazines than any man I know. And all paying tribute to his special brand of genius.

And to Tussi and John Kluge. My love and deep appreciation for their financial support. Dallas has already been the recipient of their generosity with their lead gift this year to the Vogel Alcove. The Kluge Foundation heads the list for their generosity to educational institutions throughout our country.

And to the Exxon Mobil Corporation and its Chairman and CEO, Lee Raymond and Vice President of Public Affairs, Ken Cohen. My heart-felt appreciation for their support. Exxon Mobil has been a great corporate citizen since they first moved their corporate offices to our part of the world. We are all very fortunate to have this great corporation in our area.

And to American Airlines, Don Carty and Mike Gunn, my deep gratitude for their participation. Very few executives in the world have been under the kind of sadness and pressure that Don has shouldered the past thirty days and more. But his outstanding leadership sets a standard for us all. And no less so than Mike Gunn unarguably the finest marketing executive in the airline business today. Mike’s great vision and taste, his creative and marketing instincts are the stuff of legends in his industry.

And my deep appreciation to all those who have worked so hard for so long to bring this Institute to reality. To Bette Mullins and the staff of SMU for keeping track and order of so many details. And for taking the news of the Institute to so many friends, I want to thank my dear friend Irvin Jaffe. To Jim Goodnight. And especially to my partner of 16 years, Dennis McClain. The best thing that’s ever happened to me in my business is Dennis McClain. He is the man that deserves the bow for the great success our agency has enjoyed for so many years now.

Since there are so many students here today, let me take advantage of this occasion to briefly sketch just a few of my deeply held views about the advertising business.

I’ve always felt advertising was a major instrument of the free enterprise system. Effective advertising can not only have a truly powerful impact on client’s fortunes but for their stockholders and employees as well and therein a great ripple effect on our economy.

And I have always believed that advertising has a powerful impact on our society. It not only influences public taste and conduct; it also helps shape society’s values.

These considerations make it a duty never to mislead, never to deceive.

It is essential then that people in our business accept that responsibility and understand that there are ethical considerations that must always be observed.

These considerations require a rejection of the vulgar, the tasteless, and the offensive in communicating a message.

And these considerations require that agencies be just as proud of the accounts they won’t handle, as they are of those accounts that they do.

Why would an advertising agency ever represent a client whose product is injurious to their health or could take their life.

And why would an advertising agency handle accounts for corporations or countries that practice racial or religious bigotry.

Truth in advertising is not merely a slogan; it is a moral and ethical imperative.

I believe that advertising agencies have an obligation for devoting a good part of their time and talent to pro bono activities. I have always felt that advertising agencies are uniquely qualified to advance the work of countless voluntary organizations in our communities that play such an indispensable role in American life.

Before I close, I want to express my love, respect and admiration for my family. Karla has been more supportive than anyone has the right to expect. While I have made the living, Karla has made the living worthwhile. No less so than our daughters Dana and Lisa and the sons they have brought into our lives Sandy and Hayden. As well as our grandchildren Grant, Blake, Cary, Hunter and Hill. All have forever put up with my follies, hyperbolas, and my absurd creative journeys. And my love of overkill in every endeavor. And that’s more than enough to try any family.

Again, my profound thanks.

Please know that for all my remaining days, I shall forever treasure this one.

Thank you so very much.

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