$100M Moody Foundation Gift to SMU To Create New Graduate School

SMU announced Nov. 12 that a $100 million gift from the Moody Foundation will fund the university’s eighth school, the Moody School of Graduate and Advanced Studies. The gift is the largest in SMU history.

The Moody School will begin operation during the 2020-21 academic year.

SMU currently offers 25 Ph.D. programs with degrees administered through the students’ individual schools – Dedman College of Sciences and Humanities, Lyle School of Engineering, Meadows School of the Arts and Simmons School of Education and Human Development. Eventually, all graduate degrees granted from those schools will be administered jointly through the Moody school, and graduate students will receive a diploma that credits their master’s degree or doctorate to both their individual school of study and the Moody School.

“The profound nature of the Moody’s Foundation gift is the latest example of the growth of SMU’s status academically, programmatically, and philanthropically,” SMU vice president for development and external affairs Brad Cheves said. “With the sophisticated way the foundation has structured this investment, SMU and the new Moody School will be well prepared in terms of facilities, endowed resources, and operating funds to execute its important mission, which itself supports the university’s strategic plan.”

The Cox School of Business, Dedman College of Law, and Perkins School of Theology do not offer Ph.Ds. and will continue to manage internally the highest degrees awarded in their respective fields, but the Moody School will link interdisciplinary research and professional development from all SMU schools.

SMU President R. Gerald Turner speaks at an event announcing a $100 million commitment from the Moody Foundation to create the Moody School of Graduate and Advanced Studies.

“We’re announcing the next stage in SMU’s development—a significant and unprecedented investment in the university’s graduate and doctoral programs and faculty research programs, which will propel SMU to even greater heights of national prominence,” SMU President R. Gerald Turner said. “I’m thrilled to announce today the Moody Foundation is partnering with SMU to build on our rich academic heritage to accentuate the development of our graduate programs. In making this investment, the Moody Foundation acknowledges that SMU has made dramatic progress in our pursuit of academic distinction. Our undergraduate and professional programs have reached levels of national recognition. Dallas and Texas and the nation need research and graduate contributions of a premier private institution of higher education in this vibrant region of our country. The quality of the university’s academic programs is most often judged nationally by the quality of its graduate programs.”

Moody Foundation chairman and executive director Frances Moody-Dahlberg, herself a 1992 graduate of SMU, said her grandmother, Frances Moody Newman, came to SMU in the 1930s.

“SMU’S been in our hearts for generations. As an alumna, I have fond memories and I’ve always taken special pride in all that SMU does. Now, as a trustee of SMU, I’m aware of the myriad contributions of SMU’s alumni to communities across the globe, of the outstanding discoveries and new ideas generated by faculty research, and of the truly unique accomplishments of our students,” Moody-Dahlberg said. “We know that investment in SMU will have transformational impact for generations to come. The Moody Foundation has been blessed to be able to help so many charities, communities, and institutions in Texas achieve their worthy goals…those we help are so often able to help spread their good works far beyond their state’s borders to have regional, national, and worldwide impact. There is no better example of that opportunity to make a positive difference in the world than what SMU and the Moody Foundation are embarking on together today.”

SMU Board of Trustees member and former chair Gerald Ford said such a significant investment is rare in the life of a university.

“The Moody family has long been associated with our great university,” Ford said. “These benefactors are forever part of SMU’s distinguished history.”

Rachel Snyder

Rachel Snyder, deputy editor at People Newspapers, joined the staff in 2019, returning to her native Dallas-Fort Worth after starting her career at community newspapers in Oklahoma. One of her stories won first place in its category in the Oklahoma Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest in 2018. She’s a fan of puns and community journalism, not necessarily in that order. You can reach her at [email protected]

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