Contact: Ellen Sterner
SMU News & Media Relations
(214) 768-7650


Robert H. Dedman Sr. and Nancy McMillan Dedman lead a family whose far-reaching generosity has created abundant opportunities for thousands of people. Their overwhelming and longstanding support of SMU, however, marks them as one of the preeminent families of educational philanthropy in the United States.

SMU remains at the core of the extended Dedman family. Mrs. Dedman earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from what is now Dedman College and Mr. Dedman holds an LL.M. from what is now the Dedman School of Law. Their son, Robert H. Dedman Jr. holds a J.D. from Dedman School of Law and an M.B.A. from the Edwin L. Cox School of Business. And their daughter, Patricia Dedman Dietz, earned a Master’s degree in psychology from Dedman College.

The Dedmans’ gifts of time and financial resources have helped to shape SMU and its mission of excellence in higher education. In 1976 their generosity led to construction of the Dedman Center for Lifetime Sports at SMU. Their 1981 gift of $25 million to endow the college of humanities and sciences -- named Dedman College in their honor -- was the largest single gift ever made to SMU and one of the largest personal gifts to higher education in the U.S. at that time. In 1997, at the launch of The Campaign for SMU: A Time to Lead, the Dedmans announced a historic $30 million lead gift, of which $12 million was designated toward the Dedman Life Sciences Building. And in 2001, SMU’s law school was renamed Dedman School of Law in honor of their gift.

The family has provided tremendous leadership for the University. Mr. Dedman has served on the SMU Board of Trustees for 30 years, and also has served as its chairman; he is one of five co-chairs of The Campaign for SMU; and he has chaired the Executive Board of Dedman College and served on the Executive Board of the Dedman School of Law. Mrs. Dedman currently is a member of the Dedman College Campaign for SMU Committee and the Dedman College Executive Board.

SMU has recognized the myriad achievements and contributions of Mr. Dedman. In 1980 he was named a Distinguished Alumnus of SMU. In 2000 he received the Robert G. Storey Award for Distinguished Achievement, the highest award given by the Dedman School of Law. And in 1995, SMU honored Robert and Nancy Dedman with the Mustang Award, the most significant honor bestowed upon an individual, family, or organization in recognition of their philanthropy.


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