SMU announced today the largest single gift in the university’s history, KERA’s Jerome Weeks reports the $45 million dollars from the Meadows Foundation are going to the arts on campus.
To hear the announcement, hundreds of trustees, students and faculty crowded the rotunda in Dallas Hall, the oldest building on campus. SMU president R. Gerald Turner noted this year is the school’s 100th anniversary.
“And since it all started here,” he said, “we felt like it would be the appropriate place to make an announcement that really helps get our second century well under way.”
In fact, the $45 million grant from the Meadows Foundation goes toward the $1 billion campaign SMU started for its anniversary. But the grant specifically benefits the Meadows Museum of Art and the Meadows College of the Arts.
Twenty million goes to the arts school. Sam Holland, dean of the school, said the money will directly affect Dallas communities. “It gives us the ability to sustain our focus on deep community engagement,” he said. “Something that lasts in the community and makes a difference out there.”
Twenty-five goes to the Meadows Museum. Both Holland and Mark Roglan, the director of the museum, said the money will be spread around to upgrade their institutions: to attract top-notch faculty and students, enhance facilities, acquire new art.
“This gift will enable us to go around the entire museum,” Roglan said, “and make it a better institution. The goal is that anyone that is interested in Spanish art in the United States sooner or later will come to the Meadows.”
Algur H. Meadows, the oil man and art collector, donated the Spanish paintings and the money that started the Meadows Museum fifty years ago. And as the biggest benefactor of SMU’s arts program, the college’s arts school was named after him as well. The new $45 million gift is the largest single grant in the Meadows Foundation’s history.