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

December 10, 2001


DALLAS (SMU) -- More than $6.3 million has been committed for the new James M. Collins Executive Education Center of the Edwin L. Cox School of Business at Southern Methodist University.

Dorothy “Dee” Collins Torbert, widow of the late U.S. Representative Jim Collins, and the Collins family pledged $1 million through the James M. Collins Foundation, to be combined with previous Collins family gifts to the Cox School for a total commitment of $5.6 million for the center. Gifts from other donors exceed $700,000 to date. Additional funds will be sought for the center, whose estimated cost will exceed $12.5 million.

“The James M. Collins Executive Education Center will support the university’s goal of increased partnerships with the community by enabling SMU to expand its education programs serving the Dallas-Fort Worth business communities and beyond,” SMU President R. Gerald Turner said. “We are grateful to the Collins family for its foresight and generosity in enabling the university to advance in this important area for the future.”

The Collins Center will provide a home for the Cox School’s Executive M.B.A. program and executive development programs offering lifelong learning opportunities for professionals worldwide. The center will include state-of-the art teaching and meeting facilities.

“There is a great demand for this center because of the growing popularity and continuing expansion of education programs for executives and managers,” Cox School Dean Al Niemi said. “This new facility will greatly enhance our ability to attract and retain the highest caliber of students and faculty members. It is important to the Cox School's continued national and international reputation as a top-tier business school.”

The Financial Times of London recently ranked the Cox School’s executive education program 15th in the nation and 24th in the world. Business Week and U.S. News & World Report place the school’s Executive M.B.A. program in the top 20. In the Business Week survey, Cox Executive M.B.A. graduates ranked the school number one in teaching entrepreneurship and number seven in teaching leadership.

The Cox School’s Executive M.B.A. program enables upwardly mobile middle and senior-level managers to acquire new skills and broaden their management perspectives. The school’s Division of Executive and Management Development provides business executives, managers and other professionals with non-credit certificate seminars in sales and marketing, accounting and finance, management and leadership, telecommunications, oil and gas/energy, and e-commerce.

The Collins Center will include reception areas, conference facilities and classrooms with technological capabilities for a variety of teaching formats including multi-media presentations and distance-learning programs that facilitate interaction between professionals and instructors. This media-intensive design will provide a comprehensive technology delivery system linking all education spaces in the Collins Center to the campus information network and global information services.

Although the Executive M.B.A. program and the Division of Executive and Management Development will be the major components of the Collins Center, it also will provide space for the Maguire Energy Institute and the Hart eCenter.

Construction is expected to begin on the Collins Center in spring 2003. It will be located at Binkley Avenue and Ownby Drive near the Cox School's three existing buildings. The center will be part of SMU’s new east quadrangle, which will include the Jerry R. Junkins Electrical Engineering Building, now under construction, and the Laura Lee Blanton Student Services Building, on which construction will begin in February 2002.

Although James Collins was a business leader before going to Washington, he is remembered primarily as a long-standing U.S. Congressman from Dallas, serving over seven terms from 1968-83 in the U.S. House of Representatives. He concentrated most of his efforts on the Commerce and Energy Committee, but also served on the Policy, Education, Labor, Civil Service and Post Office committees. While in Congress, he was recognized with the National Association of Businessmen’s Watchdog of the Treasury Award and the National Taxpayer’s Union Award for Fiscal Responsibility.

Collins, who died in 1989, earned a B.S.C. degree in marketing from SMU in 1937, followed by M.B.A. degrees from Northwestern University and Harvard University. He taught several classes in the SMU School of Business and was later a member of the SMU Board of Trustees. He also served as president of the SMU Alumni Association and as a member of several other university boards. He received SMU’s Distinguished Alumni Award in 1971. Dee Collins Torbert is currently a member of the Godbey Lecture Series Board and is a former member of the SMU Fine Arts Council.

Previous gifts from the James Collins family established the James M. Collins Chair in Finance and the James M. Collins Foundation Student Aid Fund in the Cox School of Business.

The architect for the Collins Center is the Hillier Group, which was the architect for the Aresty Institute at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School, the Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University, the Janice H. Levin School of Business at Rutgers University and the schools of law and business at Columbia University.

Gifts for the James M. Collins Executive Education Center count 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.