Newsroom

March 3, 2008

Wachovia Foundation gift to SMU to give
Dallas-area students access to the arts

DALLAS (SMU) – The Meadows Museum and the Meadows School of the Arts at Southern Methodist University have received a gift of $174,000 from the Wachovia Foundation to institute "Imagine U @ SMU," a program that will enable middle-school students from disadvantaged backgrounds to participate in a high-quality, interactive college campus arts experience.

The Wachovia Foundation will fund development of the program, curriculum and related activities, which will be designed to inspire young minds to think creatively and explore educational opportunity through the arts. Ideally, these students, who will be known as Imagine U @ SMU Scholars, will be encouraged to consider opportunities that otherwise would not have been available to them.

"The Wachovia Foundation’s generous gift will create opportunities for learning and enrichment that might not have been possible otherwise," said José Bowen, dean of the Meadows School. "The entire SMU community is excited about this program and its potential for helping us engage with students from disadvantaged backgrounds. We hope this program will inspire young people to broaden their creative horizons and pursue educational opportunities."

The program will let the students experience original works of art, and create their own art works, in a world-class university museum, to experience life at a university campus, to interact with staff, faculty and students and to meet community and campus leaders who share similar backgrounds.

"This generous gift makes possible an exciting new education program that will reinvigorate the Museum experience and stimulate the imagination of a great many middle school students," said Mark Roglán, director of the Meadows Museum. "It enables the Meadows Museum to expand its vision and reach out to new audiences in a meaningful way."

While the program design is still in progress, one of its primary aims is to involve four middle-school classes each semester – approximately 100 students –from schools located in disadvantaged neighborhoods. SMU will work with Big Thought to identify and engage the students who would most benefit from this program. They will have three 3-hour campus visits per semester, and each visit will be structured around a learning theme. The program will allow group work, individual activities and interaction with Meadows School students and faculty.

"This program is another wonderful example of our collaborative partnership with SMU," said Gigi Antoni, president and CEO of Big Thought. "This gift from the Wachovia Foundation provides for even more Dallas students to engage more deeply in the arts and to share in creative learning experiences."

"One of our most important community involvement goals, as a corporation, is supporting the education of our children," said Julia Wellborn, Wachovia’s regional president for North Texas. "And in that context, we believe art should be a part of that education. Exposure to high-quality art experiences can stimulate and uplift students like nothing else. We are proud to be a part of this program with Meadows and SMU."


About Wachovia

Wachovia Corporation (NYSE:WB) is one of the nation's largest diversified financial services companies, with assets of $782.9 billion and market capitalization of $75.3 billion at December 31, 2007. Wachovia provides a broad range of retail banking and brokerage, asset and wealth management, and corporate and investment banking products and services to customers through 3,400 retail financial centers in 21 states from Connecticut to Florida and west to Texas and California, and nationwide retail brokerage, mortgage lending and auto finance businesses. Globally, clients are served in selected corporate and institutional sectors and through more than 40 international offices. Our retail brokerage operations under the Wachovia Securities brand name manage more than $1.2 trillion in client assets through 14,600 financial advisors in 1,500 offices nationwide. Online banking is available at wachovia.com; online brokerage products and services at wachoviasec.com; and investment products and services at evergreeninvestments.com.

About the Meadows Museum

The Meadows Museum, a division of SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts, houses one of the largest and most comprehensive collections of Spanish art outside of Spain, with works dating from the 10th to the 21st century. It includes masterpieces by some of the world’s greatest painters: El Greco, Velázquez, Ribera, Murillo, Goya, Miró and Picasso.

The museum is located at 5900 Bishop Blvd. on the campus of SMU, three blocks west of the DART light rail Mockingbird Station. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday; and 12-5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $8 per person, free on Thursday evenings after 5 p.m., and free for children under 12, museum members, and SMU faculty, staff and students. Ample free parking is available in the museum garage. For information, call 214.768.2516 or visit the museum’s web site at www.meadowsmuseumdallas.org.

About Big Thought

Big Thought, based in Dallas, Texas, is a non-profit learning partnership providing programs and educational opportunities that inspire, empower and unite children and communities through cultural, educational and civic partnerships. Programs include Young Audiences of North Texas, Dallas Arts Partners, Creative Solutions, North Texas Wolf Trap, Library Live!, Make a Connection thru Art, and the Dallas Arts Learning Initiative.

These programs provide creative learning opportunities for students to become more imaginative, adaptable and productive adults resulting in stronger communities and a capable future workforce. Big Thought is supported through the generosity of corporations, foundations, endowments, individuals and from government grants. For more information, visit www.bigthought.org.

# # #