SMU NewsContact: Ann Abbas or Patti LaSalle


March 31, 2005


DALLAS (SMU) -- The Stemmons Foundation has given $1 million in support of the new J. Lindsay Embrey Engineering Building at Southern Methodist University’s School of Engineering. In recognition of this gift, SMU will name the building’s atrium in memory of prominent Dallas developer John M. Stemmons.

Groundbreaking is scheduled May 12 for the Embrey Building, which will house the Engineering School’s Department of Environmental and Civil Engineering and the Department of Mechanical Engineering, as well as a pavilion for special events and the dean's suite. The John M. Stemmons Atrium will be the principal entrance to the building and will serve as an informal gathering place for students, faculty and others.

"We are deeply grateful to the Stemmons Foundation for this generous gift," said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. "Linking the Stemmons name to SMU's School of Engineering in this manner is a fitting tribute to a community leader of extraordinary vision and foresight, whose contributions to the city and region left a lasting legacy for future generations."

The Embrey Engineering Building will be part of SMU’s East Quadrangle, which serves as a new entrance to the campus reached from North Central Expressway. Lindsay Embrey and his wife, Bobbie, provided the lead gift for the building. Plans call for the Embrey Building to be an environmentally sustainable, high-performance facility, known as a "green" building, which will serve as a model for future campus building design and construction based on energy and resource efficiency.

"SMU's School of Engineering has a long tradition of educating leaders for area business and industry, and the school is poised to play an even greater role in the future," said Geoffrey Orsak, dean of the School of Engineering. "In naming the John M. Stemmons Atrium, we are proud to recognize a strong role model for students preparing for careers in the field in which he achieved such outstanding success."

John M. Stemmons, who died in 2001, fulfilled his father's dream of developing the former floodplain of the Trinity River for productive use. His father, Leslie Allison Stemmons, was the driving force behind moving and straightening the Trinity to free the city of Dallas from recurring catastrophic floods. After his death in 1939, his sons created the Trinity Industrial District, which became an important part of the Dallas economy and later provided land for a section of Interstate Highway 35E, named in honor of Leslie Stemmons.

John Stemmons became president of the family-controlled business, Industrial Properties Corporation, in 1945, and he later served as chairman and CEO until his retirement in 1994. The oldest developer of industrial parks in Texas, Industrial Properties Corporation now owns approximately four million square feet of industrial buildings in Dallas, Austin and San Antonio. The company recently was sold to Crow Family Holdings.

The Stemmons Foundation was established in 1963. The majority of its grants are made to Dallas area charitable, cultural, educational and scientific institutions. Allison S. Simon, daughter of John Stemmons, is president of the foundation.

"The Stemmons Foundation is privileged to support the new J. Lindsay Embrey Engineering Building at SMU," said Mrs. Simon. "We are pleased to have my father's name associated with a fine institution that has given and will give so much back to the community. Daddy would be particularly pleased because of his long and close association with Lee Halford Sr., a graduate of the SMU School of Engineering."

In addition to the Department of Environmental and Civil Engineering and Department of Mechanical Engineering, to be housed in the new Embrey Engineering Building, the SMU School of Engineering includes Departments of Computer Science and Engineering; Electrical Engineering; and Engineering Management, Information and Systems. The school offers Bachelor's, Master's and doctoral degrees. The federally funded Institute for Engineering Education at SMU promotes engineering programs for students from kindergarten to college.

Southern Methodist University is a private university in Dallas with more than 10,000 students and offers degree programs through seven schools. More information about SMU is available at