Contact: Ellen Sterner
SMU News & Media Relations
(214) 768-7650
August 20, 2002


DALLAS (SMU) - Robert H. Dedman Sr., who died Tuesday in Dallas, gave generously of his time, talents and financial resources to Southern Methodist University and played a major role in SMUÕs advancement as a leading private university.

His generosity is evident throughout the SMU campus in the Dedman School of Law, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, Dedman Life Sciences Building, Dedman Professorships in Economics and History, and Dedman Center for Lifetime Sports. DedmanÕs gifts and his life are exemplified in the biblical injunction he often quoted, ÒOf those to whom much is given, from them much is expected." Commitments to SMU from Robert Dedman and his wife, Nancy, and the Dedman Foundation are now valued at more than $77 million. They include the following:

  • $30 million, the largest single gift ever received by SMU, pledged in 1997 to SMUÕs capital campaign. The Dedmans allocated $12 million of this commitment toward construction of the Dedman Life Sciences Building, housing SMUÕs Biological Sciences Department and pre-medical studies program, which opened in December 2001. An additional $2.5 million was designated to establish an endowed scholarship program at SMU for students from North Dallas High School, Mr. DedmanÕs alma mater.
  • $15 million of the $30 million pledge, plus an additional $5 million (for a total campaign commitment of $35 million), was designated for endowment of the SMU School of Law, making a total of $20 million from the Dedmans for the schoolÕs endowment. The school, founded in 1925, was renamed the Dedman School of Law in 2001.
  • $25 million pledge in 1981 to endow SMUÕs college of humanities and sciences, later named Dedman College. A portion of this gift funded Dedman Professorships in Economics and History, both in Dedman College.
  • $1 million in 1976 toward construction of the Dedman Center for Lifetime Sports, a multi-use sports complex for SMU students, faculty and staff.

"We at SMU have lost a vital and beloved member of our university family," said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. "Through philanthropy and leadership, Robert H. Dedman has made history for SMU and set the standard for generosity in support of education. But Robert DedmanÕs genius was that he combined generosity with active involvement. Mr. Dedman often talked about the joy of giving while living, of seeing oneÕs gifts in action. He did indeed take great joy in seeing his generosity shape the progress of SMU. His continuing legacy will be the achievements of countless students, alumni, faculty and others forever transformed by his grand vision, good humor and genuine interest in education. We will miss him dearly. Our prayers and thoughts are with the entire Dedman family as we collectively give thanks for his life and honor his memory."

In addition to his philanthropy, Dedman gave generous service to the university. He became a member of SMUÕs Board of Trustees in 1976 and served as chair of the board from 1992 to 1996. He served as one of five co-chairs of SMUÕs capital campaign, which on April 19, 2002, announced surpassing its $400 million goal by raising more than $541 million in the five-year campaign.

DedmanÕs breadth of interests is reflected in other leadership positions on the campus including the PresidentÕs Leadership Council, Dedman College Executive Board, Meadows School of the Arts Executive Board, Law School Committee and Foundation for Business in the Edwin L. Cox School of Business.

A 1953 graduate of SMUÕs School of Law, Dedman received many honors from his alma mater. SMU recognized him with its Distinguished Alumni Award in 1980 and the 1976 Entrepreneur of the Year Award from the Cox School of Business. In 1995 Robert and Nancy Dedman were among the first recipients of the Mustang Award for longtime service and philanthropy to SMU. In 2000 he was honored by the School of Law with its annual Robert G. Storey Award for Distinguished Achievement.

Over the years, Dedman used announcements of his many SMU gifts to encourage others to do the same. He often said, "To give while you live provides you with the joy of seeing your gift in action, of seeing it change lives."