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

February 25, 2002


DALLAS (SMU) -- The Hillcrest Foundation, a longtime supporter of Southern Methodist University, has pledged $1 million toward construction of the James M. Collins Executive Education Center of SMU's Edwin L. Cox School of Business. The gift will be recognized with the naming of the Hillcrest Foundation Ballroom in the new Collins Center.

The Hillcrest Foundation gift boosts to $7.76 million the funds committed for the Collins Center, whose estimated cost will be about $12.5 million. The center will be named in honor of the late U.S. Representative James Collins of Dallas, an SMU alumnus.

"Since SMU's beginning, a special relationship has existed between the university and the Caruth family, which established the Hillcrest Foundation, " SMU President R. Gerald Turner said. "Starting with W.W. Caruth Sr.'s initial gift of land for the campus, the family and its foundation have helped SMU seize important opportunities through the years. We are deeply grateful for this latest gift from the Hillcrest Foundation for the university's continued advancement."

The Collins Center will be a state-of-the-art teaching and conference facility housing the Cox School's Executive M.B.A. program for middle- and senior-level managers and the school's Division of Executive and Management Development, which offers lifelong learning opportunities for professionals, managers and executives who want to enhance their skills. The division's short-term programs can be customized to address the challenges and objectives of particular industries or individual companies and can be offered either on the campus or at the client's location.

"Our need for an executive education center stems from the growing demand for continuing education programs for business leaders," Cox Dean Al Niemi said. "This increasing demand, coupled with the growth of the Cox School's Executive M.B.A. program, calls for additional teaching and conference facilities. The Collins Center will help the Cox School to be a competitive provider of executive education programming and to maintain its 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 Hillcrest Foundation Ballroom in the Collins Center will accommodate large groups for social gatherings and meetings of both university and community groups. It will provide a focal point for the center, which also will include classrooms, conference areas and meeting rooms. The facilities will have a comprehensive education technology delivery system including the latest multi-media and distance learning capabilities.

Construction is expected to begin in fall 2003 on the Collins Center, which will be located at Binkley Avenue and Ownby Drive near the Cox School's three existing buildings. Part of SMU's new east quadrangle, the center will be conveniently accessible from North Central Expressway.

The Hillcrest Foundation was founded in 1957 by Mrs. W.W. Caruth Sr., a member of a pioneer family who settled in the Dallas area in 1848. Several generations of the Caruth family purchased land, owned and managed farms and ranches, and later developed the properties as Dallas grew to become a major metropolitan area.

In 1911, in response to the commitment of a Methodist education commission to establish a major university in Texas, a group of Dallas citizens pledged $300,000 for the university and W. W. Caruth Sr. pledged land for the campus. These commitments of money and land led the Methodist commission to pick Dallas over Fort Worth in a heated competition between the two cities for the university's location. In 1948 the Caruth Engineering Building was named for W.W. Caruth Sr. in recognition of his significant role in the university's establishment.

W.W. (Will) Caruth Jr. graduated from SMU in 1933 with a B.S.C. degree in general business and went on to earn the M.B.A. degree from Harvard University in 1935. He was active on several SMU boards from the mid 1950s through the late 1970s and received the SMU Distinguished Alumni Award in 1969. His wife, Mabel Caruth, also attended SMU, and two of their four children are SMU alumni.

After W. W. Caruth Sr. transferred management of the vast Caruth family land holdings to his son in 1948, W. W. Caruth Jr. developed some of Dallas' most valuable properties, including Inwood Shopping Village, Hillside Village, Medallion Shopping Center and NorthPark Shopping Center, the latter in partnership with Ray Nasher.

The Caruth philanthropy is evident throughout the SMU campus. In addition to the Caruth Engineering Building, the Caruth family and Hillcrest Foundation provided funds for Caruth Auditorium in the Meadows School of the Arts. In the Cox School of Business, the family and foundation have provided funds for the Caruth Chair of Financial Management, the Caruth Institute of Owner-Managed Business, and the Hillcrest Foundation International Resource Library in the Business Information Center. Most recently, the foundation established the Hillcrest Foundation Technology Fund in SMU's Dedman School of Law. In addition to the original gift of land, the Caruth family and the Hillcrest Foundation have contributed a cumulative total of more than $7 million to the university.

The latest Hillcrest Foundation gift counts toward SMU's $400 million capital campaign launched in 1997. Although commitments to the campaign already exceed the goal, the five-year campaign will continue to its official conclusion on May 31, 2002. To date, campaign commitments have resulted in 63 new endowments for academic programs, 125 new student scholarships and awards, 23 new campus life initiatives, 15 new academic positions, and 13 new and/or renovated facilities.