October 29, 2003

$13 Million Student Services Building Opens At SMU

DALLAS (SMU) -- Offering convenient “one stop shopping” for student services, SMU will officially open the $13 million Laura Lee Blanton Student Services Building at a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Oct. 31, 2003 at 11 a.m.

Construction of the 63,000-square-foot building was made possible by a $5 million gift from Jack S. Blanton and the late Laura Lee Blanton of Houston and generous gifts from other SMU alumni, parents and friends.

The building consolidates several departments in one location: the Division of Enrollment Services, which serves both prospective and current students with admission, enrollment, financial aid and student account services; SMU’s Office of Information Technology Services; a new SMU International Center, which serves as a liaison to international students; and the SMU-in-Taos program.

Designed by OmniPlan Architects of Dallas in the traditional style of Collegiate Georgian architecture, the Blanton Building is the centerpiece of the university’s new East Quad at the intersection of SMU Boulevard and Airline Road. The location offers more convenient parking for visitors to campus and is easily accessible from North Central Expressway.

The building features the SMU Family Terrace on the building’s second level facing westward, overlooking the university. The terrace will be the starting point for campus tours, an informal gathering place for the campus community and the site of a variety of campus events such as activities related to Homecoming, alumni reunions, Family Weekend and Commencement.

“Not only is the Blanton building a beautiful landmark that anchors our east entry, but it demonstrates SMU’s commitment in providing high-quality services for both current and prospective students,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “We are deeply grateful to the Blantons for their generous support of the university and their strong commitment to its students.”

Mrs. Blanton, who attended SMU her freshman and sophomore years, was a longtime member of SMU’s Board of Trustees and was a 1989 recipient of SMU’s Distinguished Alumni Award. She was a member of the Presidential Search Committee that recommended the selection of R. Gerald Turner as SMU’s 10th president in 1995. Active on numerous boards for 26 years, she was known for her love of students and her interest in student life.

The Blantons gave $2 million in 1997 for the Laura Lee and Jack S. Blanton Academic Development Complex, part of the Altshuler Learning Enhancement Center dedicated to student academic support services. The Blanton family also provides funding for five endowed scholarships for SMU’s President’s Scholars Program.

A gift of $1.5 million from Kenneth R. and Linda A. Morris of Sonoma, Calif., supports The PeopleSoft Information Technology Center to serve the computing and telecommunications needs of the SMU campus.

A gift of $500,000 from Ann Lacy Crain of Longview, Texas, provided for the construction of a fountain on the plaza in front of the building.

Construction of the Blanton Building is part of The Campaign for SMU: A Time to Lead, SMU’s major gifts campaign ending in 2002.