Education Funders

SMU receives $5M gift for engineering research

Southern Methodist University (SMU) has announced a $5 million gift from Rich and Mary Templeton for engineering research at the university’s Lyle School of Engineering.

This gift, which includes $4 million for an endowment and $1 million for operations, creates the Templeton Endowed Research Excellence Fund. The fund is flexible, allowing for support of the most pressing and important research needs in the Lyle School at any given time. It covers a range of project essentials, including postdoctoral researchers, doctoral and graduate student stipends, equipment and supplies.

Working in collaboration with SMU’s Office of Research and Graduate Studies, the Lyle School will select projects that benefit the University’s research portfolio, along with faculty who have strong track records for significant external research funding and success in recruiting elite graduate students. Metrics of success will be defined by the school and the research teams.

“This investment in research is critical to strengthening SMU’s academic quality and attracting top graduate students who will seek solutions to some of the world’s most stubborn problems,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “Rich and Mary have a long history of supporting successful initiatives to advance technological innovation. They understand what is required to be a premier research university, and their generous gift will play an important role in moving our University closer to the global reputation we desire.”

“Research is essential to SMU’s ability to make an impact through technology. We’re delighted to help make that happen,” said Mr. Templeton, who is chairman, president and CEO of Texas Instruments and also serves on SMU’s Board of Trustees.

“Our family has deep connections to SMU,” said Mrs. Templeton, renowned community philanthropist and volunteer. “The University’s goals and strategies to bolster research are aligned with our vision for higher education and technology.”

Brad E. Cheves, SMU’s Vice President for Development and External Affairs, said the University is honored to count the Templetons as supporters. “We are grateful that Mary and Rich are advocates for SMU and our educational and research aspirations. They have accomplished much in their lives, and their generosity is rooted in a desire to help others make a difference in the world.”

SMU Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Steven C. Currall said the gift addresses important University goals. “A robust and productive portfolio of externally sponsored research is key to reaching our collective vision of SMU’s future.”

Lyle Engineering Dean Marc P. Christensen said, “This gift can mean the difference between advancing research or watching a good idea die on the vine. It allows us to recruit the most talented students and faculty, and enables them to lead the way in emerging areas of research.”

SMU continues to raise its academic quality and standing through deliberate efforts to enhance scholarly research, including more postdoctoral researchers in targeted areas and increased support.

“These practices will attract stronger applicants and help doctoral students complete their programs more quickly,” said James E. Quick, dean of Research and Graduate Studies at SMU.


SMU is the nationally ranked global research university in the dynamic city of Dallas. SMU’s alumni, faculty and nearly 12,000 students in seven degree-granting schools demonstrate an entrepreneurial spirit as they lead change in their professions, communities and the world. Find out more on the university’s website. publishes every week.
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