Contact: Meredith Dickenson or Ellen Sterner (214) 768-7650

December 4, 2003


DALLAS (SMU) — In what will be a first for a Texas university, SMU’s Cox School of Business is breaking ground Dec. 4 on a building devoted exclusively to executive education.

The James M. Collins Executive Education Center is expected to bring to campus the area's top executives for degree programs as well as customized and open-enrollment classes taught by Cox professors. Last year companies spent more than $200 million sending their top managers to business schools to enhance their skills and knowledge, according to a BusinessWeek survey of executive education programs. Cox Dean Albert Niemi believes the number of educational partnerships between corporations and business schools will increase.

“ The pace of change in technology, corporate governance and management practices is forcing many companies to abandon their in-house training programs and partner with business schools to deliver these courses,” Niemi says. “The development of working professionals in non-degreed programs offers tremendous growth opportunities for business schools in the next 20 years.”

To be completed in March 2005, the new building will house the school’s Division of Executive and Management Development, which offers open-enrollment and custom-designed programs; the Executive MBA program, tailored to senior managers; the Southwestern Graduate School of Banking, with certification programs for bankers and directors in the financial services industry; and the KPMG Institute for Corporate Governance. Currently these programs have to share space with traditional classrooms or take place at off-campus sites.

The Southwestern Graduate School of Banking alone educates more than 1,000 corporate clients each year, who travel to Cox from across the country for a few days or weeks of classes. Big clients include Guaranty Bank and Comerica Bank locally as well as several hundred community banks nationally. In five years, the banking school has grown from two standing programs to six, according to its director Scott MacDonald.

“ Consolidations, technology, and new state and federal regulations demand constant retraining for bank employees,” MacDonald says. “Executive education geared to the flexibility and needs of a particular industry adds value to our clients. With our corporate partnerships in Dallas/Fort Worth and the surrounding states, we should be able to fill our classes years in advance.”

The James M. Collins Executive Education Center was made possible through generous commitments from Dorothy “Dee” Collins Torbert, the Collins family and the James M. Collins Foundation. Additional gifts from SMU alumni, parents and friends have contributed to the $18.3 million building that honors the late Jim Collins.

Jim Collins, who served in Congress from 1963-83, earned a BSC degree in marketing from SMU in 1937, followed by MBA degrees from Northwestern University and Harvard University. He taught several classes at the business school and was later a member of the SMU Board of Trustees. His son, Michael Collins, says his father believed strongly in the importance of education.

“ The Collins Center is a tribute to my father’s love of learning,” Collins says. “Our vision and the university’s is that thousands of business men and women will enjoy quality instruction in this state-of-the-art facility.”

In addition to the generosity of the Collins family, several individuals have made significant contributions to the Collins Center. They include Sylvie P. and Gary T. (‘69) Crum, Marilyn H. Augur (‘89) and The Hussman Foundation, Cary M. Maguire, Charles H. Pistor, Jr. (‘61) and Regina P. Pistor, Bob and Myrna Schlegel and the Executive MBA Class of 2003.

In helping CEOs stay abreast of change, the Collins Center will double as a way to connect corporate supporters to the university. More than 30 companies and foundations have made contributions in support of the Collins Center.

They include Accenture LLP, Bank of America, Bank One N.A., Bank of Texas N.A., Bank of the West, Centex, Coca-Cola Bottling Company of North Texas, James M. Collins Foundation, Columbus State Bank, Comerica Bank, Deloitte, Ebby Halliday REALTORS®, Ernst & Young, Frost National Bank, Halliburton Company, Hillcrest Foundation, Hoblitzelle Foundation, KPMG LLP, Lockheed Martin, The J.E. & L.E. Mabee Foundation Inc., Maguire Oil Company, PAJ Inc., Pavestone Company, Sewell Automotive Companies, Southwestern Graduate School of Banking Foundation, Texas Industries, Inc., Texas Instruments Inc., Tolleson Wealth Management, TXU, Wells Fargo and the Westcott Foundation.

Designed by the leading architectural firm, the Hillier Group, the Collins Center will include a 5,000-square-foot, three-story commons area; a dining room with seating for 120; five classrooms; a boardroom; a conference room; 15 seminar rooms; a business center and executive lounge. In addition, one of the building’s main features will be a 318-seat auditorium and rooftop terrace, which will provide meeting space for the Cox School as well as other university functions. The entire center will be equipped with the latest technology to support a variety of instructional techniques.

“ The Collins Executive Education Center is another symbol of SMU’s commitment to meet the educational and training needs of area professionals and corporations in establishing or maintaining a competitive advantage in the marketplace,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “We offer top-quality programs in the Cox School of Business and soon we will have a state-of-the-art facility to serve the needs of busy executives. We are extremely grateful to the Collins family, the James M. Collins Foundation, and the many other foundations, corporations and individuals who have generously provided support for this new asset to our campus and community.”

The Collins Center will be located in the southwest corner of the new East Quad directly to the east of the Cox School complex that includes the Maguire, Fincher and Crow Buildings. A distinctive pedestrian mall running north and south will join the Cox School and the new East Quad, which has become the new entrance to SMU from Central Expressway. The Collins Center will be the last of three new buildings constructed in the East Quad with funds raised from The Campaign for SMU: A Time to Lead, SMU’s major gifts campaign that ended in 2002. The other buildings include the Laura Lee Blanton Student Services Building and the Jerry R. Junkins Engineering Building.