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SMU News & Media Relations
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February 21, 2002


Laura Lee Blanton served as a member of the SMU Board of Trustees from 1972-84 and again from 1988 until her death in 1999, serving as secretary of the board from 1992 to 1996. At the time of her death, she was chair of the board's Standing Committee on Buildings and Grounds.

As co-chair of the Houston-area organization for The Campaign for SMU: A Time To Lead, she was a motivating force in raising more than $30 million for the campaign. She served on the Executive Board of SMU's Meadows School of the Arts and, in 1995, was a member of the Presidential Search Committee that recommended the selection of R. Gerald Turner as SMU's 10th president.

Mrs. Blanton, who attended SMU her freshman and sophomore years, received the SMU Distinguished Alumni Award in 1989. In 1998 Jack and Laura Lee Blanton received SMU's Foundation for the Future Award honoring individuals whose longtime service and philanthropy have made a lasting impact on the University.

President of her family's Scurlock Foundation, Mrs. Blanton was recognized for her civic leadership with honors from the American Council for the Arts, the American Jewish Committee's Institute of Human Relations, the Child Abuse Prevention Network and the National Wildflower Research Center.

Jack S. Blanton Sr. is president of the Eddy Refining Company, a family oil company. He chairs the board of the Houston Endowment, Inc., one of the largest foundations in Texas, established in 1937 with an endowment from by Mr. and Mrs. Jesse H. Jones.

Former chairman of the Board of Regents of the University of Texas System, he received the Distinguished Alumni Award of the University of Texas at Austin in 1978. He earned both undergraduate and law degrees from UT-Austin. He also received an honorary degree in law from Centenary College. He served on the SMU Board of Development in 1959, and the SMU Graduate Associates in 1964.

He has served as director for several companies including the Southwestern Bell Corporation, the Ashland Oil Company, Texas Commerce Bancshares, Baker Hughes Inc., and Burlington Northern Inc.

In 1984 the Blantons and their children donated $1 million to SMU to establish the Elizabeth Scurlock University Professorship in Human Values in honor of Mrs. Blanton's mother. The Blanton family also provided funds to endow five endowed scholarships for SMU's President's Scholars Program, including the Louise Wynn Blanton Scholarship in honor of Mr. Blanton's mother, who graduated from SMU in 1920, and the Alma S. Wynn and Robert Wynn Blanton Scholarship in honor of Mr. Blanton's grandmother and his brother, who attended SMU in the late 1940s.

In 1997 the Blantons gave SMU $5 million toward construction of the new student services building bearing her name. Also that year, the Blantons gave $1 million for facilities and $1 million for the endowment of a complex for academic development services for undergraduates, to be known as the Laura Lee and Jack S. Blanton Academic Development Complex, a part of the Altshuler Learning Enhancement Center.

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